The Road Trip

Matthew Donnellon

Photo by Leio McLaren (leiomclaren.com) on Unsplash

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“Let’s go. Let’s go. Let’s go,” I said as I waited out front in the car.

“I’m coming,” Jen said. I doubted it though. Jen was always late.

“Toss your stuff in the back I want to beat the traffic.”

“Relax, we have plenty of time.”

“We had plenty of time. I had plenty of time.”

“Shut up, it’s been like 3 minutes.”

“I’ve been sitting out here for an hour,” I said. What I didn’t say was that I had arrived 45 minutes early.

“Really?”

“Yes. Let’s go.”

“Fine. Should I toss my stuff in the back?”

“Back seat’s fine.”

“Do you have Cassie’s stuff in here too?” she asked as she climbed into the front seat.

“Most of it. She took an overnight bag. I’m bringing the rest.”

“Same with Dave. I’m bringing his stuff too.”

“Is that what took you so long?”

“Shut up.”

We road in silence after that. That kind of funny pause at the beginning of a road trip. She played on her phone and I concentrated on not getting killed in traffic. It wasn’t until we reached the freeway that she finally spoke.

“Is Cassie almost done with school?”

“Yeah, she’s done in May.”

“I can’t believe it.”

“That she’s done or that she’ll have a Master’s degree?”

“Both. I was always the one who was good at school.”

“That’s what she said.”

“How’s work?”

“Fine. Boring. Have you figured out what you’re going to do next?”

“Ugh, no. I’m going to have to figure something out. I don’t think Dave is just going let me keep sitting around the house watching Netflix.”

“Haha, well you could always just come hang out at our house. We have Netflix.”

“You’re too sweet. But I need to start bringing money in.”

“Dave has plenty of money. He can float you awhile.”

“It’s not just that. I need to do something productive.”

“You could always just start popping out some kids. Dave’d let you stay home then.”

“Oh god, don’t even joke about that. It’s still a sore subject.”

“He still want them?”

“Yes. He doesn’t let it go.”

“Eh, he can be patient.”

“I know. He just wants kids so bad.”

“It’s not just about what he wants though.”

She was silent for few moments.

“I’ll let it go,” I said.

“Thank you.”

“If he keeps bugging you though I’ll set him straight. You know that.”

“It’s fine. I can handle it. I’m a big girl. If I needed your help I’d ask for it.”

“Okay. Okay.”

It was silent again.

“Did you ever tell Cassie…?”

“Don’t bring that up.”

“Fine.”

“Did you ever tell Dave…?”

“No.”

And again the silence returned.

It lasted just a beat too long. I really didn’t want to spend the next two hours in silence.

“So are you excited for this weekend?”

“Uh huh.”

Uh oh, I thought. Things were looking bad. A mad Jen would mean a mad Cassie which would mean a bad weekend for me.

“I think there are cookies in Cassie’s bag if you can reach them.”

“You’re not just going to ply me with cookies.”

“You say that like it’s not going to work.”

“Did Cassie make them?”

“Yes.”

“Fine.”

She twisted and reached and produced the bag of cookies that were actually for me to eat while I waited for Jen to leave the house. I decided not to tell her though.

“So, what’s it like being married?” I asked.

“God. It’s the same as before. I don’t get what the big deal is. That’s what everyone kept saying. ‘It’s going to be different when you’re married’ but it’s all horse crap. Nothing changed.”

“Well then I guess I’ll wait to ask Cassie then.”

Jen looked at me for a moment.

“Shut up. You’re going to ask her this weekend aren’t you?”

I didn’t say anything but couldn’t stop smiling.

“You are aren’t you?”

“That’s why I wanted her to go up early. I picked up the ring after she left. I didn’t want her to find.”

“That’s so sweet. I wanted Dave to go early because I just didn’t want to look at him anymore.”

“Oh, I figured it was because you wanted to ride up with me?”

“Maybe. So you’re really going to pop the question?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“You’re sure.”

“Yes.”

“Absolutely sure?”

“Is there a reason I shouldn’t be?”

“No,” she said. But she took a moment too long to answer.

“Do you know something I don’t?”

“No.”

“You’d tell me if you did right?”

“Of course. You’d do the same right?”

“I did tell you.”

“Fair enough. You don’t think we need to be worried about the two of them up there by themselves?”

I started laughing.

“What’s so funny?”

“If two women fall for Dave the sky will fall and we’ll die anyway.”

“That’s not nice.”

“Doesn’t mean it’s not true.”

“You just don’t like him.”

“No one likes him.”

“I like him.”

“No you don’t.”

“Yes I do.”

“Funny way of showing it.”

“Hey! Watch it. You don’t get to judge me.”

“I’m not.”

“Sure sounds like it.”

“Then maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.”

“Screw you. I spend my time how I want. I do what I want.”

“It’s not any of my business.”

“Maybe you should remember that.”

“Fine.”

“That’s right fine. Just drop it.”

More silence.

“You just deserve better that’s all.”

“I know. But this is the way it is. Can we please just drop it?”

“Yes.”

“I know your heart’s in the right place…”

“But you’re a big girl. I know. I know… it won’t come up again.”

The rest of the car trip was far less eventful. Jen played music and sang out of tune. Well singing would be not accurate. Screeching would be closer. Twice I thought I saw deer covering their ears as we drove past.

Finally, we pulled into the cabin’s long driveway.

I could see both Dave and Cassie coming out to greet us.

“Hey,” Jen said grabbing my arm as we went to get out, “before you ask her shouldn’t we tell them?”

“Look,” I said, “it was one night. It was a mistake. Please let’s just forget about it.”

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Matthew Donnellon is a writer, artist, and sit down comedian. He is the author of The Curious Case of Emma Lee and Other Stories

Detroit, MI
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