The Spirit of the Forest

The car’s been devouring kilometre after kilometre of wet asphalt in the dead of the night for the last fifty minutes. It’s been already 18 kilometres of straight road since I last crossed another car and this pretty much fits with my definition of hell: an endless and poorly lit corridor with the knowledge that something’s breathing at your back. I can sense that the fog outside’s getting thicker and that can only mean I’m approaching the forest in Bujaraloz and its curves, so I engage the clutch; the car’s no longer thrust by a fine piece of German engineering, abruptly turned into a mass of plastic and metal impulsed only by its own inertia. I’m listening to Michel Cloup sing from the depth of his lungs that the police start to march when I suddenly see it on the verge of the road.

Majestic, primeval, nailed to the floor by the hooves or protruding from it like a regal piece of clay, the deer looks me in the eye; its damp fur blends with the moss it’s standing on, chewing some grass safe in the knowledge it has all the time of the world, its moist antlers partly defying and partly a warning sign of his condition. Everything goes into slow motion, I can catch a glimpse of my own headlights deep down in its eyes, heart’s deciding whether to skip a beat or keep the regular thumping on my chest and the night becomes a jolt of sparkles and glitter as in a bad J.J. Abrams film; he’s solid, real, rough, wild, pure, primitive, the living symbol of every single thing a forest can be, and he’s definitely winning this staring contest.

The heart decides to keep beating and the moment’s gone, the deer’s been passed by, engulfed by the night closing in around him, the accelerator gives me back the control of the car. There’s still much road ahead and I can’t see past the next 100 metres, but I know the Spirit of the Forest will be waiting for me the next time I turn the curve where I didn’t die last night.

Número de familiares en el extranjero: 1. Choices.

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