Forgotten ideas: The road to happiness

Not all ideas are meant to become epic tales. Some are just ideas that tire themselves out after a few hours of writing. Or maybe the writer just didn't have the strength to see it through. Forgotten ideas is just that, an ode to these stories that never developed much further. It may be shaky, but here we go ...

It was a Friday. The schools just closed, the Christmas holidays just began and everyone had a place to be. The roads were packed with people frantically on their way to a holiday, a gathering, a party, a wedding. Another year was passed, part with laughter and part with tears but the load of months to carry on the back has decreased to merely December. Everyone walked lighter, another year was past. Now there was just the various festivities to get through, but even those awkward family meetings, the ones where some aunt with a moustache growing into a unibrow with her nose hairs pulls you and some man who looks like he was picked up by the side of the road to the side and says, “Please meet your cousin Fred. Talk.” Even those would be a blast knowing that all the sorrow and strife of the year had been trudged through. Even family was but a blimp compared to the battles fought in the past month.

That was the exact thing on his mind as he left the office Friday at 12h30, he was free. He just started working at the company as an office manager that year in January and he needed to get out, to get far away from the toxic work environment. He wasn’t upset with his job, he enjoyed parts of it and it didn’t hurt that on paper the company was worth gold paying a few grand each month to cover his full medical aid bill and fuel expenditures. His boss had a motto that she didn’t want to give her employees a reason not to want to come to work. On paper of course, she was right. But the effect was that no on still wanted to show, they were just too cowardly to leave and have to pick up a ton of new expenditures. He knew he was stuck, but that wasn’t what was on his mind as he closed the office door behind him. He was free.

Her plane landed that day at 11h00 and she moved through the various ports of useless airport bureaucracy but an hour later. The city wasn’t a holiday destination but it was bustling. One of her closest friends, whom she haven’t seen in the last ten years was to be married later the afternoon on a venue just out of the city between mountains that hide away the mines and factories. The invitation described the venue as a “silent piece of heaven that will allow your soul to take in a glimpse of God’s beauty”. She didn’t quite understand and doubt the wedding did either. In reality there wasn’t anything neither silent nor peaceful about the place. Just as it was surrounded by beacons of capitalism and labour, it was one itself. Churning in and out brides and weddings like a sausage machine, Charging unsuspecting and willing parents small fortunes for something called “unique” that was to be repeated every single day of the month. On that day there was to be 2 weddings at the exact same venue, in replica chapels and barn style reception halls located at different sides of the land. She was excited of course but she couldn’t help being mildly cynical at the same time. She had to look good, really good at this wedding with loads of old friends and family members present. She half realised that she partly wasn’t going to the wedding out of love for the bride, but a need to prove her worth to a roomful of acquaintances. All she could think of as she found her rental car that would be her steed taking her to the fairytale wedding, was that the only reason she flew up for the event was that she just really wanted to look pretty.

At last he reached the final spot to rid himself of the office surroundings, his BMW 700kw motorcycle. Just seeing the thing made him tick. His girlfriend loved to complain about the thing, about its expense, noise, uselessness and of course its safety hazard, he always laughed at her every time she brought up every reason he should get rid of it, if only she would just try ride passenger she would understand. She would never know the thrill of going 200 km/h on an open road, and he actually liked to keep the secret to himself, it was like his own private and accessible Narnia. He naturally wore a protective jacket and helmet, but honestly part of the thrill of the ride was knowing that your time could come at any moment just like all heroes in the movies. He was still young although next year was the big 3-0 and he wanted to feel it. He didn’t want to look back one day in regret.

Driving to the mountains just a stone’s throw away from the bustling city, she sat in peak traffic. Schools closed today, she sighed heavily, wishing hate on all those happy kids and anxious families. She had some place to be god dammit. To rid her mind of any further dark thoughts, she always found it unhealthy to think bad of anyone whilst driving, she fantasised how she was going to do her hair for the event. She particularly didn’t wash it that morning, as she wanted to ensure that she was fresh and beautiful showing up on the steps of the chapel where undoubtedly a good couple of photos were to be taken. She also had to ensure a pew seat on the aisle in the front. If she was going to be there, she damn well had to be on all photos of the bride and groom looking lovingly into each others eyes before their friends and loved ones. She even paid a little extra to her accommodation for the night so that she could shower and dress for the occasion. No one could blame her that she didn’t think of anything. As the car edged forward bit by bit on the overcrowded highway she finally decided that she was going to do a german milkmaid braid with her long blonde hair, crowing over her head. She actually burst out in laughter just thinking about it, that would be perfect, just the right balance between chic and cool, after all, she didn't want to look as though she tried. That was so pretentious.

As he weaved through the congested highway he thought everyone inching forwards in the reliable cars stupid. There was a whole world ahead of them, a whole life to be lived and they spent it in irritable moods drowning in traffic. He felt almost a god taking the offramp to the open road leading to the mountains. Mounting the beast he had a quiet chuckle thinking of himself as the lone rebellious ranger on his bike but actually taking leave to stand beside his girlfriend at some far off family friends’ overpriced wedding. He knew everybody there hated him, saw him as an unreliable bad boy. Today he was going to show them all, he could be there, even if it was for an over the top, almost theatrical wedding. He wanted to show his girlfriend he could be counted upon, he wanted her to know that he loved her, he wanted her to know that one day he planned to have his own over the top wedding with her. He had a little gold ring hidden in his shirt pocket underneath his riding gear, and he planned to give it to her later that day as promise of his love for her. He loved how it shined between his fingers as he held it in the sunlight, just as she did every time he saw her, and he wanted her to know that. Maybe he was growing up after all. But the roar of the lion between his loins reminded him that he didn’t have to become an oldie quite yet. Although it was but midday on a hot, humid day in the middle of the city, he felt as though he was some cowboy chasing off in the sunset.

When she finally reached the off ramp after about 3 hours of moving nearly nothing, she finally felt life returning to her. Over an hour ago she stopped dreaming about her dress and only had dark and evil thoughts cursing whomever had a stationary vehicle or caused an accident up front. “So damn rude,” she said to herself out loud. Everyone had somewhere to be and up front some asshole is selfish enough not to check his car for enough petrol or some biker, they are always bikers, that rammed into a car again. “Deserves what’s fucking coming to them,” she said again as another bike flew past her. But she cleared her head of the evil thoughts soon enough. She was moving now, and she still had hours to prepare her body and face before the ceremony.

He knew cars hated it when he accelerated past them, especially in traffic. He almost felt the hate they sent his way as they watched on in envy. Usually he couldn’t care less, but today he felt as though he had an impression to make, an urge so strong that he wanted everyone to like him, even drivers with foul mouths and piercing stares whom he would never even know. He slowed down in solidarity with the drivers around him, but as he came up a hill that was crowned with a petrol station and fast food joint and saw all the fat hatchbacks turning in up front, he speeded up again. The excitement he felt burning through the gold rung in his breast pocket burnt like a fire through his hands that held the accelerator. These weren’t the kind of people he wanted to be in solidarity with, he only wanted her. Speeding towards his destination he fished out the ring from his pocket one more time to see it glinting in the sunlight. Somehow it brought a wave of peace that the beast he was riding on has never been able to give.

“I think it’ll add a nice flair to shed a few tears” she giggled as the city behind her turned to hills and farmhouses. She prided herself in the fact that she always thought of the little things like these, and she hoped she surrounded herself with such people as well for her wedding one day. Almost as soon as the rolling hills began to flow, the cars in front of her slowed down again. Fuck. Another fucking jam. She had two hours to go till she wanted to arrive, she always did so a few minutes late, but not late enough to be rude and ruin the bride’s day, but still, she didn’t want to be rushed for hair and make up. Luckily her car rolled dead at the top of a hill with a long queue stretched into the valley with the accident on the next top. This meant that if she were to be stuck, at least it was a room with a view. She laughed at how inappropriate she was, but as no one was in the car with her, didn’t let too much guilt slip her mind. Although she was at a prime spot she couldn’t actually see that much. There were too many people, an ambulance, police cars and even the fire brigade. “Goody,” she whispered through her teeth, “it couldn’t have happened too long ago, so the guts and blood with still be spread on the road like a roughly made marmalade sandwich.” Those kind of accidents were always the best and the fact that the police actually closed the road to clean this one up gave her jitters in her stomach. She almost felt like she should walk up and go see what there was to see. “I hope it’s a minibus,” she whispered almost scared that the cars before or behind would hear her. “I hope that the bodies are so pulled apart that they have to play puzzle trying to match heads and bodies and arms and feet.” She watched the goings-on up front as though in a trance, licking her lower lip every 15 seconds. Her left hand started instinctively scratch the right, with her freshly manicured nails leaving deep red marks on her soft skin. “They fucking deserve it. Deserve to have their limbs ripped off and splattered on a grey road. Deserve the crowd of onlookers from the fast food restaurant and petrol station just across the road from the accident. God I hope they all die.” Almost the moment the words slipped her thoughts, a truck came driving towards her as though summoned, a pathologist’s van. She stopped licking and scratching herself and fluttered her eyes open waking up from a deep sleep as the cars started moving again. She was utterly disappointed with the damage as she passed it, it was only a car that hit a motorcycle as it left the petrol station. The car had minor bumps, the bike had its front wheel and handlebars ripped off. No blood, no limbs. “God, so that was only for one person,” her head was yelling as she felt the anger burning up inside her that this guy wasted her time so rudely. She would have to rush now, if she gets lucky she’ll have just over an hour to get ready for the wedding.

Although rushed, she reached the chapel at the exact moment she intended to, late enough so that everyone she knew would be there, and early enough not to disturb proceedings. She even had to wait a few minutes in her car in the parking lot to achieve this perfect balance. She giggled and laughed as she hugged and kissed her old friends and family on the cheek. She heard the French always greeted that way and it made her feel extremely continental to do so. She cried without ruining her make-up as the bride step in. She managed to grab the perfect instagram of the bride and groom exchanging loving smiles as they left the chapel and got 15 likes within the first 3 minutes of posting. She used the hashtags #truelove, #forever and #sohappy in every one of the 20 photos she uploaded. She knew she looked gorgeous based on the fact that none of her friends ever said a word about it. Jealous whores. She ate, danced and told all her old friends that they should “definitely make a plan to see each other soon” before she left at a very late hour and climbed into bed utterly satisfied. The next day she woke up at 12h00 drove back to the airport to board her flight at 20h00 that night. She liked being early at the airport and she liked that this round there were no jams or accidents to keep her waiting. Once checked in, she always bought the thickest, most important and intellectual-looking book and read it in the bar with a glass of Chardonnay (starting the book halfway of course). She had a fantasy that if she did this enough, a cowboy would one day show up and pass a little golden ring to her, promising his complete and utter adoration and devotion. “It was a good weekend” she told the flight attendant slightly buzzed from the wine as she boarded her plane. “It was a really, really good weekend,” she told the man who sat beside her as well. Before she fell into her drunken stupor she had the briefest thought of the motorcycle accident the day before. It came and it went and she felt asleep, having not felt this happy and relaxed in years.

In another place, another woman was lying on her bed having locked herself in her room. The world has never been this dark to her before. He died on that wretched machine, as she warned him for years and years before. He was probably late and speeding as he had done countless times before. She felt mad, guilty, and heartbroken at the same time. She had a wonderful time the previous day meeting up with friends and family at a cousin’s wedding. She was furious that he didn’t show up yet again and even flirted with one of the groomsmen as payback. She held her breath in order not to scream and promptly fell asleep. This was without a doubt the worst day in her life.

Cape Town – Vancouver


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