We drove down the dark highway. Stars twinkled in the sky above, far from the light pollution of the city. The occasional lit-up billboard slowly approached, advertised the adult XXX warehouse at the next exit (in 200 m.), then passed in an instant. The neon blue and red lights of the dashboard illuminated our faces in the silence of the car. The only sound was the wind rushing by our windows. Peaceful, comfortable quiet.
In a few miles, we’d reach our destination. Our stomachs were hungrier than we could wait, so we stopped at a roadside Denny’s. I ordered pancakes. I love pancakes. They’re the perfect breakfast food. Someone told me they don’t really have them in Europe, that they eat meat and cheese there for breakfast – sometimes yogurt. I resolved never to visit Europe. Who doesn’t eat pancakes?
We both finished with a cup of coffee and I marveled at the stereotypical diner mugs it was served in. They’re always quite thick and a bit squat, ranging from grayish-beige to 70’s-brown in color. The quintessential coffee mug, I think. I should find some for my next apartment.
She paid, we left. Just a few more miles to go. I try not to think about it.
We wound our way through a residential neighborhood. I enjoy looking into people’s’ homes at night, so that’s what I did. Lights on, curtains open revealed varying styles of decor and family scenes. Most people were watching TV together. One family sat at a dinner table, with the mother (I presumed) bringing out a steaming casserole dish from the kitchen – she was even wearing an apron. How 1950’s.
Would I ever have a family? Who would cook? I’m a terrible cook. I also don’t really want children. This world is a scary place. There’s a lot of good in it, don’t get me wrong, but I see too much of its horrible side to feel confident about introducing new innocence to the scene. No, I decided. These picture-window snapshots I was admiring were never going to be my life. I wasn’t sure if that made me feel relieved or melancholy.
She took a left out of the subdivision and followed the main road for a while. The shops were all closed, giving the town the feeling of being asleep from its very bricks up. Street lights illuminated the tired eyes of store fronts. Everything slept soundly, which was such a comforting feeling.
Right onto Bethel.
Pass three streets on the left, arrive at the stop sign. Turn left.
I noted that the Cummingses needed to mow their lawn, but Mrs. Henshaw’s rose bushes looked spectacular. Aleisha must be out of town – her mailbox had been full for three days now. I’ll check it for her in the morning and put it in the basket by her door. No need for people to make her a target.
Fourth driveway on the right. That’s me.
She pulled in and let the car idle. I slung my bag over my shoulder, thanked her for the ride, and went in to wash the blood off my hands.