• Travis Ryan

Red Line

Updated: Jun 27

The needle jumps, dancing, sliding toward the adjacent plane. Its purpose is red on red, these lines were destined to become more than themselves. And they did, they always fucking did. It didn’t matter the calming and stable everyday drives and familiarity of routine, the needle knew, like a tiger in a cage, that it had a goal to achieve.

The Line was apprehensive, That was her job, the steadfast and reliable line. Day after day, she sat there, in comfortable complacency that had become purpose. The abstract become realistic in the blink of an eye, next thing you know, the concrete below your feet is made up things that could “never happen”. She was alone, but the words had determined that she was destined for that. Agony and chronic yearning can look a lot like contentment and status quo sometimes.

On and on this routine cut, clawed, and became normalcy. Until change. Great change. The needle was blasted from its notch, out of its niche and into something that had been brewing in the primordial ooze since long before its conception. Break neck speed and chaos put them together. The needle basking in the red line basking in the concept of “them”. The melding of too completely separate components, that were indoctrinated with the same diatribe. That for some reason, the thing in their chest that they knew was absolutely right, was drilled into them as a problem, and a defect. There was no place for self actualization in a machine depending on all of its little gears behaving as they were designed. There was no room for fulfillment in a vehicle of constant more.

The family was devastated, they saw the crash on the news and all made jokes about the “idiot” who couldn’t control his lead foot. The realization that smashed through their defenses, took long to settle in, but When it did. It left nothing but damage and questions.

Both sides of the coin had been considered, but there still is something beautiful about two sides of a spectrum, draped in fear of meeting each other, colliding and immediately realizing that they’ve found their real purpose. It turned on its head, Purpose, This needle was supposed to snap into the red line, and enlightenment would surely follow. The crash was not an “accident”, it was not a miscalculation. It was in its purest sense, enlightenment exceeding the space allotted in the human form reaching out for a larger container and finally realizing that no container is the best option. This sounds like it took ages, and relatively speaking, it could have, but it was less than the blink of an eye, and greater than anything he had ever known.

People forgot. The skidding tire tracks faded, the glass was swept away, even the scars on the trees healed and callused, letting leaves drape lazily over the bent guard rail. People wanted to forget, and so they did. The pain still remained. But like all emotionally maiming incidents, the limp became almost unnoticeable, the shooting pain became a steady pulsation, and the fog cleared to allow blessed distraction in. And that’s how it went. They never found blood or a body in that car, the police quickly dismissed it as a result of the fire. Only problem with that theory is the fire didn’t burn long or hot enough to singe the leaves above. They also called the whole thing “mechanical failure” Based on the gauges being stuck at max levels. The only one that wasn’t smashed still sat on the shelf, a glass and brass instrument trapped in its last moment of sudden doom. I don’t believe in failure without factors, and I don’t believe in disappearing bodies or magic fire. But I do believe that if, indeed if this was a choice. Then there’s probably a reason, it matters not what that reason is, permanent situations are not worth agonizing over.

And there they sat, together at last, a needle and its target, fused in eternal glory and in no need of time.

The real purpose you are made for, is not always the one you expected, or were taught. Sometimes this process of shifting into your position is not seen because it is governed by laws we do not have any chance of understanding. It slips by, people forget, the narrative changes and morphs until it is unrecognizable and blank.

But outside of time, that needle and the red line sit as a reminder to all.

You can try to run away, conform away, work away your purpose. But eventually, it will find you.

And when it does, rejoice because it is the beginning of the process of accepting you had been lost the whole time, and finding your way home.

“Speed Demon” “writer”

Travis Ryan

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