Strains of powerful arm-flapping music belted from my car’s puny speakers as I raced the coming darkness home. I could get there first, if I allowed myself to be propelled by the sound. The sun had already sunk behind the dark mountains, and headlights zoomed past me in the other direction. Shadows consumed the details of buildings and trees so that only their hulking forms remained.
It was definitely a Beethoven kind of night. Well, I didn’t remember if the radio announcer said that it was Beethoven or not—Ten minutes before that, I had been distracted by the traffic that was finally beginning to thin. It took me several more minutes to realize that the music that was propelling me, making me push my foot a little harder against the gas pedal, seemed to perfectly match the sky. The road in front of me was dark, but the clouds were lit in the colors of the sinking sun. It was as if the trumpets’ blasts had produced the billows upon billows of orange and purple clouds. The clouds were moving while standing still, a painting whose subject is static and yet reaching, leaping, falling off of the canvas. I drove along the base of the low mountain, with the glowing orange sky in view. The clouds took up all of the space in my chest, and the music filled my ears. I didn’t know how long the moment would last.
It wasn’t a gradual fade-out. I beat the darkness home while the clouds were still lit from below. I pulled into my garage and waited a few minutes for the music to end to figure out the composer. But I noticed then that my stomach felt hollow, and without the combination of music and open road and sky to pull me and fill me, I made my way upstairs before I found out who it was. I still wonder.