Soft ukulele music played in the car as I waited. A shy voice sang a beautiful song and I enjoyed it immensely. Still, my body was tired and muscles sore. No amount of music could fix this pain, but leaning my head back over of the chair helped wonderfully. As I slowly drifted into a relaxed state the passenger door opened and she climbed in.
“Any luck?” I asked.
“Well, they had pretzels, but-” she began.
“Not any real food, huh?”
I started up the car and drove out on the highway. All the while we crunched on what turned out to be stale pretzels washed down with room temperature water. The rest stop was definitely not the best in the world, but after so many hours on the road it was a life-saver.
“I’m still so excited,” my wife told me. “A home, honey, a home where we can live and work and grow a family.”
“I know, I’m looking forward to it as well,” I told her. “I wish it was a little cheaper though. The old place needs some work.”
“The loan will cover that, we just need to pay it back on time.”
“True, that is a big thing.”
We pondered these thoughts a moment more as if the whole trip wasn’t filled with daydreaming and cheerful talk. It was only when the dark clouds rolled in did we fall silent. Now, as we began talking again, rain started to pour after a crack of lightning.
“Slow down, the road is wet,” she told me.
“As if this trip wasn’t long enough,” I muttered, but eased on the accelerator. “You realize that when we get there we won’t even be able to get inside until we find the keys.”
“The extra set was left under a potted plant,” she reminded me, forgetting that there were several at the front of the house, crowding the door. “Plus, it’s not my fault you lost the original keys.”
“Well, if it comes down to it, I will just kick down the door,” I murmured.
“Now that’s a great idea. I was hoping to stop by the hospital today.”
We laughed and passed our time, but my mind was slowly getting more preoccupied with the road. As a result, we both fell silent. The rain was thick and the road not a simple one. Soon was slowing down even more, not because of warnings, but because I was sane. It soon reached the point where we couldn’t see too far ahead of us.
For a moment I considered stopping the car on the side of the road and waiting the storm out a bit, but knowing the muddy track beside the road I would only get stuck there. This was a city car, but weighed down heavily by a lot of our stuff.
“Jesus, I can’t even see the road, can you?” I asked.
“Don’t exaggerate, but take it slow,” was her only reply.
It was good to see that I was not the only one who was alert. Still, this storm made me grow tense and seeing that many obstacles passing me by I only grew more worried.
“Turn the music up,” I told her. “We need something to block out this noise.”
She reached over and adjusted the dials until music was practically blaring. We smiled as one of our favourites filled our ears. In addition, I joked that other cars would hear us before they saw us, but that quickly turned negative as we grew worried about the traffic.
As luck would have it, there wasn’t any traffic. It must have been a slow day or we missed the cars passing us entirely, because we drove on the highway alone. Our moods began to improve as the rain lessened, finally the clouds ran dry and we could finally see where we were driving.
The highway had turned into a mountain road as we were coasting near a cliff edge as we drove. We didn’t mention how lucky we were to have been able to see the road enough to avoid driving off it. With that, not decided to park off on the side and wait out the storm. Who knows what would happen if they were on the mountain pass at that time?
Still, a spirits were lifted and the music continued to blare. We sang, laughed and soon I found my stomach rumbling along with hers.
“I’m starving,” I told her. “Feels like we didn’t eat anything in a while.”
“Same here,” she replied. “This is turning out to be a long drive. I don’t know why, but it feels like when we first drove to the city it was shorter.”
“I was thinking the same thing, but hey, there’s another rest stop ahead,” I told her.
“Another? We haven’t stopped at one yet,” she told me.
“Haven’t we?” I asked surprised. I thought back and couldn’t recall stopping either. “Then it’s a good thing too. The tank could use a refill.”
We pulled into the small reststop and I drove next to the gas pump. I climbed out the car, cleaning out the wrappers and bags to throw them away. My wife went inside to find food, but something told me that a rundown looking place like this had nothing but stale snacks.
I was about to fill the car back up, but glancing at the fuel gauge I saw it was still pretty high. With a shrug I decided to trust we had enough to make the journey to the city. I reached for the door handle to the driver's seat and grabbed my head. I felt a splitting headache coming on.
In addition to this pain, my muscles were sore. I stretched, groaned and grunted before climbing back into the car and turning the music to something relaxing. I held my head for a long moment, letting the music play and ease me out of this deep funk.
Finally, my head rolled back and rested on the head rest. The pains subsided and when I heard tapping at the window, it felt like I woke up from a dream.