In The Car
This marks the 9th story in a series I hope lasts a very long time.
You tell me your stories. I write them down.
Because this is how we connect.
Their mother pulls away from the house, the backseat and trunk and roof weighted down with the rest of their things. They pull out behind her, the oldest at the wheel and her siblings as passengers. They are all quiet and still. They are all leaving their home. They are all leaving the man who stands at the end of the driveway watching them go.
The oldest daughter turns on the radio, tries not to look back. Their father's music fills the car, but nobody sings. They just follow their mother.
"Do you really think Dad will be OK?" the youngest asks.
His sisters don't know, but they tell him that they do. They tell him that Dad will be OK.
They stop at lights, make several turns, pass houses and stores and their schools and then they hear a funny sound. It's coming from somewhere in the car. They ask each other what the sound is, but of course none of them can know. They are too young to understand the sounds of cars or marriages or what makes them break.
Everything slows down then and they cannot make it go any faster and they begin to move the car off to the side of the road because they know it is going to stop and finally it does. It just stops. It cannot go any further. Maybe it knows that it's passengers can't either. They cannot go any further.
They see their mother's break lights ahead and then she pulls over too and starts backing toward them as they try to restart the car, but it will not start and so they all get out.
They walk toward their mother and toward all of their things that are weighing them down. They tell her that the car will not start again. She speaks right away. She doesn't hesitate.
"I'll go ahead to the new house and call your dad. You guys get in the car and wait for him. Wait right here. Don't go anywhere else."
They are unsure. They just left their father at the end of the driveway and they are unsure. They are too young to understand the sounds of cars or marriages or what makes them break. They are too young to understand fathers too. They are too young to know that his love doesn't. It does not break.
Some time goes by and some darkness falls and then they see slow lights pulling up behind them. They all turn to look.
It is him. It is their father in the car.