Distant Lights


Lights on the road had always meant different things to him. When he’d been bad, it was his father’s car coming up the drive and the punishment that followed. On his birthdays, it was the promise of what lay behind those car lights and what was hidden in the car.

That night, the night when he and his first love took the taxi to that hotel – oh, the butterflies in his stomach, those lights as the taxi arrived, that was living on the edge – just to feel like that again – for one fleeting moment – would be the nearest thing to heaven.

Car lights meant the potential for good, or perhaps the arrival of the bad.

As he lay in the dark, he thought about how he had got to where he was. Perhaps it was more accurate to cogitated on how the world had got to where it was.

He had been living on the farm for what had seemed a lifetime. There had been months of no food at the beginning, but he’d taught himself how to farm. How to trap rainwater. How to eat what insects were about.

He’d survived. He’d lived.

Those days had turned to months, then years and in all that time there had been no one. No radio, no phone, no sounds of another soul’s voice – but most of all no contact. No warmth from another body.

He could only guess what had happened. World War? Global environmental disaster? The End of the World perhaps? No plane had flown over the farm for years. There was no sound of distant sirens. Just – nothing.

Now this. He’d been watching the sun go down, when he’d caught sight of the lights. They could be seen as they came over the horizon. Who was driving? Why were they coming? Did they know he was there?

It was just like his dad’s car coming up the drive all those years before.

bobby stevenson 2017


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