He said “let’s take a drive. let’s go to Detroit to see my folks.”
The shiny red sports car was ready to go and she had managed through a lie to get off from her two full time jobs for the trip, using a funeral at home for an excuse. She had never been anywhere really and wanted this adventure. She was a month away from college and knew time for them was dwindling away too quickly, “yes”,she said, “let’s ride North, out of this furnace”.
They left DC in the late morning headed through the traffic to the open road.
She hung her feet out the window to cool down, a hot blazing summer and an old sports car with no a.c. So this was how she coped. They talked, laughed, listening to the music she loved. She moved closer to him, her bare leg touching his. Ohio welcome, the lights flashing in the rear view mirror, what was wrong? Their speed in check, he pulled over and the cop walked up to the window. The bright scorching sun sparkling off of the mans sunglasses as he leaned down and looked in the window, looking at the boy, then to her, then asked the boy for ID and took a few steps away. A few minutes later he returns and asks the girl to step out of the car and come with him. Confused she complies and walks to the back of the car wondering what it is that she did wrong.
“Are you here of your own free will” he asks her. “Why would you ask that” she replied. “just making sure” he says nonchalantly. Ok she thinks to herself and starts to walk away. “If you were my daughter, I would disown you” he mutters. She stands there looking down at the ground,not sure what to say. .”You’re just white trash” he said as if an afterthought as he spits on he ground. She wants to cry because she does not understand. but somewhere inside she knew it would happen someday, just not here, not now.
She loves the boy. She does not care that he is of color. She see’s no difference. “Get on” he says and walks back to the flashing light car. She jumps in the boys car and he asks what the cop said.
“Nothing” she replies. “Nothing at all”. He looks at her because he knows better. The boy has been here before, not this particular place, but the situation , yes, but what did it really matter. She looks out the window and shifts uncomfortably. She knows the world has now changed but she doesn’t know how or why. It doesn’t matter she thinks, all that matters is the here and now. Together they sit quietly, driving off towards his home she wonders what they will think of her. She is not sure. The hot wind blows and she puts her feet back out of the window, no, nothing has changed she tells herself, he did not hear what that cop said, right?
He lays his arm on the door jamb and looks at the horizon. We won’t be back here again, no sir, and he is sad that their time is almost over. He reaches out and takes her hand and kisses it. She looks up at him with a shy smile then looks forward again. He takes a deep breath and exhales, they drive into the sun that is sinking slowly….still miles to go.