Monologue: The Taxi Driver in “Leaving on a Jet Plane”

In which I give a background character (at best) a chance to shine

Oh my God it is so cold. Pretty far from my ideal 6:53 a.m. Not that I minded driving twenty minutes out of our way right off the bat after this guy practically begged me to stop at his girlfriend’s place—the more time, the better for me. I could’ve done without the recap of their entire relationship on the way. I mean, I love a good story, but this one was…concerning. Doesn’t sound very healthy if you ask me. Apparently he’s messed up a lot. Like a lot. Like, I guess cheated on multiple occasions? I wasn’t fully clear on it: every so often he would get kind of evasive and go quiet, like he felt guilty for telling me any of this, but then the silence would be too much for him and he’d start up again.

I can drive in silence forever. That’s what I do.

Anyway, he was saying he wants to prove how committed he is to her and he’s going to suggest that they get married once he’s back. And I wasn’t about to tell him my theory that the last thing she’d be eager to do with a boyfriend who had an infidelity problem would be to tie herself to him so he could continue to be unfaithful behind the façade of marriage TO HIS FACE…but then he looked at me like he was waiting on my opinion, so I was like “you sure seem to have thought this all through,” and I’m willing to bet the sarcasm didn’t register because he was too distracted and worried.

I can’t even tell if they had a fight and he’s just trying not to part on bad terms, in which case showing up at her house first thing in the morning is an even worse idea than I thought. On the other hand, it isn’t as if they can text while they’re long-distance. I don’t even know what texting is: it’s 1969 and we have no such technology. Maybe I can see the future. You know, I’ve always suspected that. I like to think I have more talents than just ferrying people around like that guy on the River Styx. I forget his name.

Where was I? Oh right, keeping my thoughts busy while my generous benefactor emotionally manipulates his partner. Ah, but he hates to go, I’m hearing him say, so that solves things. Hmm, should I rest my head on the steering wheel, or bang my head on it?

She doesn’t look like she’s buying it, though. I don’t know, I could be projecting. She looks smart, like she can make up her own mind. Unless he withheld something major from me, which I really doubt, he is not pitching her a terribly attractive plan here.

Wait, what time is it? Time to lay on the horn is what. Neighbors be damned. What is he—WHAT ARE YOU DOING? WRAP IT UP. YOU HAVE TO BE AT THE AIRPORT AT LEAST TWO AND A HALF HOURS IN ADVANCE EVERYONE KNOWS THAT COME ON.

Cannot believe he’s making this my problem. I’m in kind of an ethical dilemma, aren’t I? By enabling this guy, I enrich myself but actively complicate these two lives. Especially the girl’s, she doesn’t deserve it. What do I do?

Oh, she’s giving him a bag he must have left with her. Yeah, yeah, just throw it in the trunk while I start the engine, we gotta go. (Now’s my chance.)

Hey sweetheart! Come here. Just for a moment. Yeah, lean in close. Listen to me. You’re free now. Okay? Your boyfriend might be the one getting on a plane, but you’re the one who gets to fly. You seem like a nice chick and you don’t have to wait for anyone. So do yourself a favor and get the hell out. Got it?

All right, you take care now. Go get some sleep!

*deep exhale*

All good? Good. Seatbelt?…Let’s go.

Published by Cecilia Gigliotti

Cecilia Gigliotti is a freelance writer/editor/musician/podcaster based in Berlin with a beloved ukulele named Uke Skywalker. Her free time goes toward dancing, reading books new and old, drawing cartoons, trying to finish her Netflix queue, and devoting too much thought to the foibles of her artist-heroes. Connect with her on Twitter (@CeciliaGelato) and Instagram (@c_m_giglio).

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