Michael never did come around to being friendly to me, but Alicia balanced his anger with kindness and grace as we finished the meal. After dessert, an apple pie that Michael rolled his eyes at before wolfing it down in three bites, he gave me back my spare tire.
As I placed it in the trunk and fastened it into place once again, an overwhelming sense of comfort overtook me. Just as I had given the tire away and it had come back to me, I had given kindness and it had come back to me. Yet I had also given a bit of grief to Alicia on our first meeting and that came back to me through Michael. And the wheels go round and round.
I gave Alicia a hug, shook Michael’s hand, and thanked them both for their hospitality.
“It was our pleasure,” Alicia said. “We’ll have to do it again some other time.”
“Drive home safely, man,” Michael said, making sure not to extend the same invitation. “Good luck with your book.”
I backed out of the driveway and headed down the road. Good luck with your book, he’d said. And I truly felt lucky. With the realization of the unity of all things, I was surging with a new feeling of mastery, as if I was really capable of having an impact in the world around me.
The second email popped into my head, and the idea of having a bestselling book in the works gave me a strong sense of confidence in what I was doing. I was truly struck with the notion that I was on a roll.
I felt the four tires rolling under me, considering the four aspects of the market that I had told Alicia and Michael about. As the producer rolled, so did the product. As the product rolled so did the service. As the service rolled, so did the consumer. And again as the consumer rolled, so did the producer. Round and around go the wheels, and for the first time since this adventure began, I had some semblance of control.
I came to the intersection of Webber and McIntosh, turning the steering wheel to the left, the four tires following my command. It was an intersection that I had come to many times in the past, and it struck me how often I’d taken for granted the power I wielded in choosing my direction.
When I came to the intersection at Bee Ridge, the light was red. I rolled to a stop and considered the three choices in front of me. Going straight would have taken me home. Going left would have taken me to Myakka where I had spent most of my childhood. Going right would take me to the beach, where the full moon hung brightly in the sky.
“What are you waiting for?” a familiar voice came from the back seat.
I looked through the rearview mirror to see Iman looking at me curiously.
“I’m just deciding which direction I want to go.”
“What options do you have?” he asked.
The light was still red, but we both knew that the option to move was still available to me. “Well,” I said, “I could go left to where I come from, go straight to where I live now, or go right…” I pulled out onto Bee Ridge Road toward the big, bright moon.
“To where you’d like to be,” said Iman.
This is an excerpt from How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. Come back weekly for the next part or order your copy in ebook or paperback today!