She's driving. Just around. She's trying to avoid going home. She can't do it forever, but she can do it for a while at least. She thought about a song she liked. A song about roads. A different road than the one she was on but it applied.
I drove around/for hours/I drove around/for days
She sees a man in the distance. The headlights capture his torso. The rest of him is covered in fog and night. He has a brown derby on. It looks out of place for today. He's wearing a brown suit and gray pants. Its like he doesn't want to be seen.
I know I shouldn't, but why not? He could be interesting.
She slows down and cuts off his path safely. She rolls down her window.
"Need a lift?"
He's at a young middle age. One could tell that this is a person who lived a quiet and careful life. He looks well preserved and healthy. What is he doing out here all by himself? At this hour? In Killingly? Route Six is chock-full of adventure. And misadventure too.
"Bless you, young lady. I'll take you up on your offer" He opens the door. She did not remember unlocking it. He glides right in at the front. She was kind of hopping he would sit in the back.
They say nothing. They listen to the drag of the car on the pavement. She wants to hear from him. Anything. That's why she picked him up. She already took a risk tonight, she takes another.
"So, what are you doing out here tonight, if you do not mind me asking?"
He looks right through her. There is a moment's tension. Then he smiles.
"I'm glad you asked. I'm looking for my brother"
"Oh, how goes the search? Have you been looking for him long?"
He flexes his lips.
"Its going well, very well. I think I've been looking for about 30 years. I've lost count. If you do not mind, can you make a right, here?"
The sign says "Balley Hill Road". She thinks there is a graveyard near there.
She makes a gentle turn to the right. She's a very good driver. She does this all the time. Its a great way to avoid being home.
"So, your brother has been missing for 30 years?"
"Yes, yes he has. And the search is going so well. I've looked all over tri-state area for him. And I have not seen or heard a trace of him"
She knew what it was like to avoid family.
"You must think me very strange, miss"
"Nnno, not at all"
He paused, waiting to be interrupted again. He wasn't.
"My brother vanished one day. We thought he ran away with his guitar teacher. But she had not heard of him either. So I began my search so many years ago. It feels just like yesterday. Each time I go out and I do not find any clues about where he is or what happened to him. I know he's safe. It's another awful thing I can cross of the list of disasters that could have befallen him"
Somehow, she knew he was getting off here. She pulled alongside the graveyard. She kept the engine running. She looked out at the small headstones. They looked like the heads of little children, tucked in by the white fog. Wrapped up in night. It looked comforting. Certainly more comforting than what awaited her at home.
"It was nice meeting..."
He was gone. She did not even hear him shut the door.
She started making her way back home. It was not really a home. Anyplace where you are abused is not a home at all. She pulled alongside the front of her driveway. The lights were off. Maybe he was not there. You could never tell. He was just as likely to leave them on when he was home as off. She did not want to go in there. She knew he was going to hit her again. That was fact. Maybe it would not be as bad as it usually was. Maybe he would kill her this time. Both were just as likely. Last time, he really laid into her. She thought she would never stop bleeding. She was shocked when she woke up without a headache or any new bruises.
I drove for weeks/and months/and years/and never went no place
She stared at her fuel gauge and concentrated. She did something to it. She wasn't sure what it was but it worked. Eyes facing the dashboard, she considered her options. All two of them.
I know what that light means. I got a good 20 miles left. I'll circle around for a little while longer and then head home. I can gas up in the morning. It will be okay.