The sun caught his eye for a second, a bright splash of gold reflected on the truck’s solar panel. It was all around him, that light, dancing in shimmers on the hot road. He looked at the watch to his right, a blue round thing his son had built at school, years ago. He had been driving more than the ‘recommended’ time. He’d have to stop soon. His mind always got confused during the long summer nights of the northern parts, the bright light keeping him company at all times. It was hard to keep track of temporalities, days merging into night.
He did not have to do that much, really. The truck was automatic, and powered by the sun. Sometimes it felt like gliding on water, except for the twists and turns of the mountains, giants keeping him company. He could remember other times, days spent on the road, greasy pants and cold hands on the steering wheel. He did not have much choice, then. He had to go quick, hardly stopping for breaks. He had to deliver whatever could be found in his trucks – food supplies, car parts, clothes. He remembered when people hid in trucks trying to get to other places, safer places. He remembered the cold knot in his stomach, the fear of falling asleep, the rough contact of his palm against the leather of the gearshift, countless days lost to the road, to the truck. It had felt like a voracious monster then, eating away his youth.
Now things were different. They barely needed him to drive – the needs for new things, new items, were not as intense. After the second Crisis people had had to learn to do with what they had, and appreciate the new when it came, a balance of needs. And anyway, really, the truck could have driven itself. He was merely here to check that everything was going to plan, to meet people and hand them their packages. He was here for the smiles, and the brief contacts with others – that’s what he’d always preferred. Nowadays the truck no longer felt like a monster eating his time. It was a companion to his old days.
Mélissa (Lili) Ainseba Netherlands I am trained as a cultural anthropologist with a focus on sustainability, social change and climate justice. I am always looking for stories – in books, people, and places. My favourite things include laying on the grass in spring, warm porridge with cinnamon, and long train rides. https://studenttheses.uu.nl/handle/20.500.12932/42770 View all posts