She said she could sing and I believed her. It was easier than having to hear her demonstrate her vocal tones. From the back of the car she pounded her fists against my head rest, laughing, the sharp points of her heels digging into the vinyl that covered the driver’s seat.
‘What do you want to hear? I’ll sing it. I’ll sing that song. Whatever it is.’
‘You’re blurring my vision. I can’t see when you do that.’
This was a friend of a friend. A lineage that wasn’t of any pedigree. It was similar to going to the race track and reading about the horses, whom they were fathered by and how many races that horse had won. It was supposed to matter. The victories of its family were to be its own. Carried over through blood and genes. This girl, this friend of a friend, had no such luck. How I knew her was through a string of faces that I recognized and didn’t find all that repulsive. In the bars we laughed and each of us disappeared when the fun was over.
This was an outside favor. A simple drive to the airport because she didn’t have a car. She didn’t have anything. This girl slept on the floors and couches of the people she met.
‘Why don’t you sit in the front seat?’
‘My voice will sound better back here. It’s called reverb. It’s called keeping a spatial distance.’
‘Is your brother picking you up?’
‘I think so. I got to call him.’
‘You want to call him now? To make sure?’
‘Why are you so worried?’
‘I’m not. Just thought I’d ask.’
‘He knows I’m flying in today. I can’t say we really ironed out the details. He’s my brother. He’ll feel me. Mentally I mean. We don’t read minds or anything, we just drop each other clues and then our minds do the work to put the pieces together.’
‘What does your brother do?’
‘He’s a courier. He drives around dropping off blue prints and legal forms for a group of contractors and architects. See? He’s connected. His natural instinct is to eliminate divided peoples. His truest quality carried over into his job. He’s not separated into halves, day and night, work and play. It all comes from and into the same place. I like that idea.’
I could feel her fists massaging up and down the back of my seat, pushing into the material as far as she could, forcing the springs slowly into my back.
‘What do you do?’
‘Of course. If I didn’t then it wouldn’t be what I do.’
Her side window rolled down, and with her face in the wind she sang. With the constant pulse of the wind, hard and concrete waves of accelerated breeze, her voice was a distant shout only inches from my ear.
She was a pretty girl. If she wasn’t I wouldn’t have allowed her in my car. A simple fact. Beauty hides the flaws of a corrupt personality. I was doing my part. There is the role of the man that fawns over a beautiful face, the man who seeks to touch it and call it his own. At a distance she made a decent object for affection.
A recognizable fact that could be used in case I felt something for someone in the future and needed a point of reference. I could always tell myself, ‘Remember driving that girl to the airport? See — you have made attempts to be close to someone.’