I usually sing when I drive.
After practice, my hair is wet and my senses sharp
and I slip between the cars on the highway that aren’t going fast enough.
My windows are tinted so no one can see it happen,
but my speakers pump colors that fill the car’s interior
and I sing along to melodies that dance in the air
like ballerinas in pastel costumes,
ricocheting off of the windows when their tutus or outstretched limbs
come into contact with the glass.
Sometimes I roll my windows down
and try to make eye contact with people as I pass,
urging them to see me:
to see how my wet hair is drying from the wind that stirs it,
to see how I’m smiling,
to not just hear my music playing,
but to see the ballerinas dancing,
to see them leaping from my windows as I turn the volume up.
I passed a van once this summer,
on the highway near my house,
with writing and paint covering its exterior.
Two men with long hair and beards sat in the front,
their colorful van bouncing pleasantly along 71 North,
either moving with the road or moving with their music.
I knew as I drove next to them that I wasn’t what they were expecting.
In place of someone with her eyes on the road and her mind elsewhere,
They saw me: driving fast, hair flying, belting a song named after a museum in Paris,
and they saw the pure electricity — the raw energy — that exploded from my speakers.
So as we drove side-by-side for a quarter mile,
their car wearing its color on the outside,
mine spewing it from the inside,
I glanced at them and the man in the passenger seat
made a heart with his hands.
It was a shared moment, a connection with a stranger,
shattered as I sped forward in surprise,
but I realized later why he made the uncommon gesture:
I knew that he saw