The Car Ride

Locked in and ready to go, the passenger waits for the driver to make his move. In this case, I am waiting, fingers tapping against the armrest. I can feel the heat coming off the back of my neck and try to take some silent deep breaths. The driver looks over to me and I see how age has touched him. A man whom I had loved and he loved back. His eyes now carried pain and I wished to give anything in the world to relieve it. But there would be no remedy for his pain.

He climbs into the car beside me, not speaking a word. The engine ignites at the push of a button and he immediately turns off the heated seats. Turning the shifter to reverse, my world gets tumbled backwards and I close my eyes, taking the jarring effect full to my stomach. My stomach turns as I feel every movement retract away from me.

It wasn’t always like this. The silence I mean. I hold onto that notion to continue forward but when a wound is not stemmed or cauterized, you’re hemorrhaging.

We make our way towards the next town over. My fingers start to move and dance again. Maybe now is not the best time, and to do what? Fill silence? I keep my mouth closed, fully knowing the answers he’ll give. At the very least, I assume answers for him. I shake my head to myself, trying to push off the despair rising into my chest and down my fingertips. This elicits a response from him, looking over with a twinge of concern. He opens his mouth as if to say something. Instead, he faces the road once more, clearing his throat. His mouth closed and no other sounds come out.

I look down at my fingertips, tingling with heavy weight. I flex each digit, attempting to bring them back to life, when the car pulls to a stop. I realize we have arrived and I start to fuss over the lint speckling my shirt. The driver has already left and making his way towards the entrance. The brown, unassuming building owned by my family’s dentist of over 20 years. I follow a few steps behind, and fall short, staring at the back of his head.

20 years of dentistry. Here I stand, behind a man I loved. In 20 years more, I picture him laid up in bed, watching the news, where he will see me, shouting into a microphone in front of rainbow crowds. Too loud, he will change the channel.

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