Road Trip

“We got no - hey, I was listening to that.”

I pinched the bridge of my nose. Rested my head against the window. “That’s the fourth time we’ve heard it since we left the city.”

She flicked the radio back on. “It’s not my fault they play the same songs over and over.”

She started singing again. I muttered under my breath, and turned to stare at the world rushing by. It wasn’t that she was a bad singer. Just… she knows it bugs me when they play the same thing over and over.

Particularly that stupid song.

For all I knew, she’d requested the blasted thing.

Could not for the life of me remember why I’d thought a road trip was a good idea. Something about getting out onto the open road. Seeing the world. Space… air… something. Travelling without dealing with travel agents maybe.

The problem with the open road, I’d realised about fifty miles back, was that you were basically locking yourself in a very small space, for a very long time, with someone that you have a very testy relationship with in the first place. I mean, don’t get me wrong, some relationships are fine. But you don’t downsize your house because you don’t feel close enough to your partner.

I suppose you could take a bike on the road instead. Not be locked in a small box. Wind in your hair. Maybe we should have done that instead. Though then I would have to pay attention all the time. And I’m not very good at that.

Apparently.

I noticed a sign ahead said the roadhouse was the next exit. My stomach grumbled. “Take the next exit.”

“Why? We’ve only been going a few hours.”

“Because I said so. Christ do I need to explain everything.”

She didn’t indicate when she drifted off the highway, onto the exit. That might not seem like a big deal to you, but it matters. Bugs me to hell, and she knows it too. I muttered something under my breath, but she kept staring ahead.

I got out when she pulled in beside the pump. Left her to deal with the petrol, and headed inside looking for something to eat. I avoided the hot box. Learned my lesson there. The only thing that could make this road trip any worse was the idea of getting food poisoning. I grabbed a packet of chips and a coke, and some M&Ms when I got to the counter. The guy didn’t have the right change, and had to send his son out the back to get a roll of $2 coins. Typical.

She was just finishing up. Looked up, smiled, but only for a second. “Umm…”

“What?”

“Did you get me anything?”

I snorted. “Figured you could get it yourself when you are paying for the petrol.”

Her mouth fell open. I dropped the food in the car. “What?”

“You were in there. You couldn’t take a second to pay for it?”

I stared at her for, like, two minutes. “You hadn’t finished pumping. How the hell was I supposed to know how much you were going to spend.”

“You could have just waited till I was finished.”

“Then I would have had to wait to eat.”

She didn’t have anything to say after that. I sat down on the hood to eat the chips. Didn’t want to get crumbs on the seats.

There must have been a line. Or she was just taking her sweet time. By the time she came out of the doors,

I’d finished the chips, most of the M&Ms, and the coke. I tossed the wrappers into the bin and headed back towards the building. She slowed as I passed.

“Where are you-“

“You took too long. I ran out of chips.”

Would have thought that was obvious. I grabbed a couple of packets this time. Might shut her up. Last thing I needed was her being in a mood, stuck in a bloody car. Some moron spun his wheels outside. I stopped by the magazine rack. Nothing really caught my eye. A couple of cheap pornos, and something about some Hollywood chick breaking up with her lover. Usual crap.

I picked up the celebrity magazine and headed for the counter. Figured she’d probably like whatever was in it. Paid the guy and headed back to the car. Or I would have, if the bloody thing had been there. She must have moved the car. I wandered outside, looking for where she’d parked. She could have at least told me.

Took me about five minutes of looking to notice the two bags piled up next to the gas pump. My bags. She dumped them and drove off without me. The hell is her problem?

Must be a chick thing.

By Tom Wells. © 2011