Daydreams at the Overlook

He had parked his car at a spot up in the hills overlooking the city. He liked to come here to sit, listen to music, and think, which is what he was doing now. Between the trees he could see the lights of cars weaving through the hills and small steady snakes of car-lights far below, down in the city. Something about the view was relaxing, helped him clear his head. Sometimes other cars came and parked up at the lookout. Sometimes he saw people making out in them like in the movies, which made him smile. It was a Tuesday night though, so there was no one else up here tonight. He played an album off his phone through the stereo, leaned his seat back, and listened with his eyes closed. This method of listening enabled him to sink into the music like he never could in other settings. At home there were too many interruptions, too much commotion. The university was even worse. But up here, alone, he could focus on every part of the music he listened to, hearing new things he hadn’t caught on previous listens, whether the album was jazz, metal, or electronic. Usually he would almost doze off and his mind would take him on wonderful daydreams or convoluted trains of thought. He would jump from memories to made up situations, would imagine entire discussions on abstract topics like the usefulness of free will as a concept, or the reductionism of semiotics as a way of viewing the world. Or he would reimagine parts of myths. Imagine turning them into stories, or even films. Hades falls upon Proserpina as she’s picking flowers in a meadow. Ceres/Demeter wanders the earth looking for her. Meanwhile Persephone is borne by Hades down into his cold and alien realm. What must it have been like, crossing the river Stygius, confronting the sorrowful visages of the pitiful shades of that realm? She is led to a throne, offered the dread pomegranate, after which point she may never fully leave that—

His daydreams were interrupted by sharp taps on the window, startling him up from his seat. He had almost been asleep and he looked around wildly. The tapping came again, against his window. He looked and it was a girl in a hoodie, standing in the rain that had at some point begun to fall. He made a sign and said "One second" through the glass, then began unrolling the window.

"Hey", he said, as the window lowered the final inches. "What’s up?"

"Hi, um, sorry to bother you."

He waved his hand in a "don’t worry about it" gesture.

"Um, this is gonna sound really weird, but, I was walking down to town and then it started to rain. I was, um, wondering, if maybe I could maybe sit in your car for a little bit, just until it lets up a bit. I think it’s going to roll over pretty fast." He was still startled, but he thought about it a second and couldn’t see any real reason to say no. She didn’t look like someone who might murder him, after all. And he’d been listening to music for long enough. Some conversation would be alright. As he briefly deliberated she spoke again, an embarrassed look on her face.

"You know what, this was a weird thing to ask. I’m just gonna keep walking." She started to turn away.

"No, wait," he finally said. "It’s alright. I’m just listening to music."

"Okay, thanks!" She came around to the passenger’s side.

"Don’t worry about the seat or anything," he said as she opened the door. He turned up the heat in the car since he noticed she’d been shivering slightly in the rain. She hadn’t dressed very well for the weather: Just a halter top and some jean-shorts.

"Hey, thanks again, seriously," she said. "I know this is weird," and she laughed. He laughed too.

"Hey, no worries. I’m just sitting here daydreaming. Kind of a long day."

"Tell me about it. I didn’t think I was going to have to walk to get groceries but my sister took the car to go hang with her boyfriend and we didn’t have anything but ramen left to eat." This all came out in a rush.

He laughed. "Yep, I’ve been there."

They sat in silence for a bit, watching the rain hit the windshield and roll down the windows. She held her hands in front of the sir vents warming them, rubbing her arms from time to time to spread the warmth.

"Hey, what’s this music?" she asked, suddenly.

"Oh, its called ’Mushroom Jazz’. It’s by this one DJ guy."

"I like it. Mind if I turn it up a bit?"

"Go for it," he nodded.

She turned the knob and the spacey, funky beats filled the car.

"Yeah, this is rad," she said, bobbing her head a bit and smiling.

"Totally." He smiled as well.

They sat again without speaking for a while, watching the rain and listening to the music. He considered trying to ask a question to keep the conversation going, but she seemed very content looking out the window and listening to the rain. He thought of various questions to ask. But he was content to listen to the music and the rain as well, so he didn’t ask any of them. Eventually the rain started to let up. It slowed to a drizzle and then stopped entirely. They both seemed to notice it at about the same time.

"Well, looks like the rain’s stopped. I guess I’d better go get those groceries."

"I’d guess you’d better." They both laughed.

"That was really nice. Thanks again for letting me chill in your car."

"Hey, any time. Oh, by the way, I’m Stev."

"Nice to meet you, Stev. I’m Lucy."

"Nice to meet you too. Oh, also I just realized I’m actually driving down the hill to get home, if you want a ride to the grocery store." He laughed. "I should have thought of that earlier."

"Oh thanks a lot," she replied. "But I still do want to get a bit of a walk in."

"Cool, well enjoy the walk." He smiled at her. "Maybe I’ll see you around."

She smiled back. "Yeah, maybe so!" She started walking away, out of the overlook area and down the hill along the sidewalk. He watched her for a minute in the mirror. After that he sat for a few minutes replaying the strange encounter. Then he put the key in the ignition, started the car and drove home.