Alternate Ending (Part 2)

August 24, 2014 - Leave a Response
photo by ML

photo by ML

Road Trip

“I can drive, you know, if you want…”

I smiled and braced myself, having caught the mischief in Sigrid’s eyes. The car swerved sharply, throwing Therese sideways in the backseat. “Fuck you,” she said laughing, adjusting her glasses, which were nearly knocked off.

Jade was already holding on to the back of my seat a split second before Sigrid jerked the wheel. She, too, knew what was coming. “Do you need a barf bag, Reese?” she joked.

Righting the car, Sigrid went back to peering into the viewfinder, her hands leaving the steering wheel to frame a shot. We were going at 120 on the highway and the driver is taking pictures. I leaned back, thrilled by the speed and comforted by the usual banter.

A few minutes later and in mid-conversation, Reese went back to her iPad, Jade put on her head phones, and Sig took the car down to 80 as she texted on her mobile. I am amazed at how these three can be so utterly comfortable with dead silence. Their conversations are like a half-finished episode of a sitcom about nothing and everything. They can spend an entire morning together without talking to each other.

I can’t get used their “affectionate” sarcasm and pranks, the “fond” teasing and name-calling, and, oh, the mock arguments, those especially. I would find myself the butt of jokes for mediating what I thought was a heated debate. Yes, I am slow like that. Sigrid, Jade, and Therese are perhaps the most irreverent and colorful people I’ve ever met. I couldn’t have written a more fascinating character in any of my scripts. Being with them sometimes feels like I’m crashing a private party. And I love them so desperately.

I was raised to believe that silence is rude and, at worst, a foreboding. I make polite conversation because silence feels awkward to me. I make it a point to engage each person when I am in a group. Because I know how it is to feel out of place. And because when I stop talking, the questioning begins. My answers aren’t nearly as interesting as my questions.

I can spend the entire night talking to three, five people and they’d leave thinking how much fun I am. And none of them would notice that I never really answered their first question: “How are you?” Not one of them knows about the little lies woven into the half-truths; of the emotions belied by my self-deprecating humor.

“This city’s made us crazy and we must get out.”

“Huh?” Sig wasn’t usually that profound.

“The song,” she nodded toward the radio.

We were on a road trip to a beach about 200 kilometers from the city. It was the eve of my birthday, and I am with the three lead characters in my real-life story.

[To be continued.]

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