“It’s only Roland,” said Genie in a low voice. The car roared then sputtered, and Diane turned. Roland looked tired, his face was darker somehow than the last time, like he had been up all night pondering something very serious. There was something very compelling in it, something that made her want more despite the danger in it.
The engine roared again.
“Hey Diane, you know what this thing is thrusting out of the hood?” shouted Roland over the idling of the powerful engine. “It’s called a blower! Remind you of anything?”
“It reminds me of you now that I know the proper name,” quipped Genie.
“Come on, babe,” said Roland, “time to go, you’re holding up traffic.”
Behind Roland a Ford slowed and crept behind him.
“It might be easier if I just go with him,” said Genie doubtfully, raising her eyebrows. “He’ll give you a lift if I ask him.”
“Sure, okay” said Diane, and immediately she felt a thrill upward through her stomach to her chest and neck that caused her voice to catch.
“Will you drop Diane off at home?” Genie walked over and leaned on the window.
“Of course,” said Roland, stepping out and bringing the driver’s seat forward. Diane smiled. The contrast pleased her—the unsavoury look of Roland with his brooding face, the look of the man waiting in the Ford behind. It was, in fact, someone she knew, Mr Forsythe and his family, who sat always front right at church, and today would be late maybe, because of them. She dreaded as she slipped in past Roland and smelled his aniseed aftershave smell, and closer still his tobacco-leather smell, that Roland would bring up church, and was she late for church? and the old man behind them, did she know him from church? but he didn’t, and she was glad.
As they took off in the car Diane felt the wonderful feeling of lightness, of air or gravity or something infinitely more refined being displaced, moved backward and downward through her for a moment, and she laughed. “Power,” she thought. “Power,” said Roland with his eyes, adjusting the mirror, flashing a smile in return. Motion was power, she realised. The ability to change things was power. Genie stole back the mirror and began reapplying her lipstick, though it would need to be done again in no time. Genie had power. Had control of her appearance, of what she thought and willed to do. Diane had crippling self-doubt and strange recursive and hurtful thought patterns that felt like ruts. She felt as though she had the ingredients to live a powerful, good and Christian life—a productive life, but there was an attraction to tragedy that she had inherited; a desire to fail and to live out life a vain and agoraphobic exercise; a mistrial, and moreover there was some key missing she felt would set such a thing as a good and productive life into effect. Was it God? The ordered, indissoluble nature of predestination, of a creator’s sovereignty over the creature made her controversies, her sloth, her insideness—a world of godless clamour and vanity—compelling beyond reason. Maybe the key was a rejection of God—something that would give one the ability with full conviction to say, I am! I will! I move and speak and desire. So she certainly had God, if having God was hope in the midst of despair, but no power, and as Roland’s Supercar lurched and screamed to beat a light and she felt again that flutter of electricity, now in her head, now in her chest, now in the paleness and darkness between her thighs, she wondered what it was like to certainly have power, in the absence of God.
Thanks for checking out this part of my project.
This is a work in progress, so I apologise in advance if summer becomes winter, or John become Joan—it's not the Mandela Effect, it's just me.
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