If anything is surreal in your life, you might want to check it. Surreal is irrational, unrealistic, unbelievable…and more of the same. Surreal is when things don’t make sense; dreamlike or nightmarish.
There was a single moment in time where a dreamlike environment crossed into the waking world. I was home, that is to say in my hometown, it was early afternoon. There were dark, black, clouds creeping over the horizon to the west. Although no one appeared to be looking at them, everyone knew they were there. The sky overhead was a sickly green tint that cast a strange hue over the landscape. The air was thick with anxiety. People rolled through stop signs, glance upward rather than outward. The radio crackled and hissed while soothing music played in the background. There was an eerie silence out in the world. The birds were gone and the playful squirrels were missing from the trees. The air was heavy with the smell of wet, black earth, and it didn’t move.
I waited at a stop light staring at the red, waiting, waiting. I knew the driver next to me was waiting as well. We both knew. We all knew. I pulled into the parking lot of the mall. It was filled with cars, but void of people. No one stood outside waiting or was moving about with shopping carts or children. The lot was full, but it was also empty. The store inside was silent. Consumers rushed through the store, quickly filling their cart with products hastily chosen. The sounds of cash registers clicking and paper bags being opened echoed loudly in the silence. A sense of urgency moved the cashiers to pick up the pace, moving customers through the lines and unrealistic paces. I was out of the store in record time, but felt no relief as I hurried back to the car.
The dark clouds crept closer, silently, as if sneaking up to us. As I pulled out of the parking lot, I realized the lacking in traffic. It seemed I was alone on the road. The air was thick; hard to breathe. I couldn’t decide whether to leave the window up or down, so I left it half way. I turn the radio off as the crackling and hissing left me in gooseflesh. I stopped at an intersection, there is no one there but I had to wait for the light to change. The light of day started to fade into twilight in the afternoon. There came a rumble from the black clouds, one that seemed to roll forever. The wind picked up. A car pulled up behind me, honked a couple times. The light is still red, I can’t go, but I wished I could. The car behind me moved closer, honked again. Finally the light changed, there was another rolling rumble, the wind blew harder. I started into the interception but stopped suddenly to avoid a car that failed a rush at the yellow. The car behind me honked again. I turned and headed down the road toward my home. The car that had been behind me disappeared in a rush.
Before entering the house, I stood on the porch a moment. Testing the air, breathing, waiting. My neighbors stood out on their porches and peeked from opened doors, watching. Waiting.