It had begun to rain, but only a little. The drops hit in a little pitter patter. It blurred everything outside the windshield, turning the tail lights ahead into soft red blobs. There was virtually no traffic on the interstate, but then again, it was 22 minutes until 3 AM. The sky was painted black and grey so dark, you might as well call it black too. The dual headlights still managed to slice through the night and drizzle, despite becoming dim with time. The car was old. Not old enough to be vintage and sought after by collectors, yet not new enough to be wanted by families or ordinary people. It was 28 years old to be exact. It came from an era of boxiness and compactness. Its tan paint was peeling in a few spots, revealing the rusted body underneath. To most people, it was a garbage car. To the girl behind the wheel, it was her life. She had worked for 2 summers during high school and a full year of work after graduation to buy this car. She paid for it in full, and paid for repairs and insurance with her paychecks and savings. The car hit a bump and rattled a little. She placed her hand on the stick and quietly soothed, “Shh. It’s ok. You’re ok.”
She threw a look over her shoulder and glanced at the back seat to make sure nothing was disturbed. Boxes of clothes and personal belongings were hastily put back there when the trunk began to show its limits with the current cargo. She tried to focus back on the road, but looking at everything packed behind her just reminded her of why she was driving down the interstate in early morning in the first place. The argument that had occurred. The radio was on, but the volume was down quite low. All that was really audible was the bass which was almost indistinguishable from the sounds outside. She reached over and twisted the dial, suddenly filling the car with the voice of Billy Idol.
There’s nothing to lose,
There’s nothing to prove,
Well, I’m dancing with myself
She tried to get absorbed in the music and forget about what was being left behind, but she couldn’t stop hearing her mother’s words in her head.
“How could you think about going to college!? Are you really this selfish? You work for so long, only to buy a car and want to go to college! Why don’t you help pay the bills or buy groceries?”
Even then, the dining room table was scattered with losing lottery tickets and empty bottles of wine. This wasn’t the first time her mother had said this to her. In fact, it wasn’t even the 21st time. The girl told her mother that she had worked hard for this money and she wanted to do with it what she pleased.
“You live under my roof without paying rent or anything!”
“I’ll get out of your hair if it bothers you too much to give shelter to your own daughter.”
It was late that night when the girl had decided to pack what little things she had, and put them in her car. When she left the house, she could still hear the soft snoring from down the hall. She closed and locked the door, slipping the key through the mail slot.
Now she sat in the driver’s seat of her boxy tan car that her mother called a “money vaccuum”, but the girl only looked forward, at the road appearing before her eyes in the light of the headlights. She forced herself not to look back at the small town quickly fading from view behind her.
“Don’t look back, Lindsay” she told herself, “Let’s try this again, take two.”