I wrote this when we still lived in Florida and Tucker was still in the Navy.
I can specifically remember Tucker getting home from watch – midnight maybe – and Cara was in bed and I was sitting out on our porch, chain smoking, and Tucker came up to me and I raised a hand because I was on a fucking roll. I didn’t want to lose my train of thought.
In about twenty minutes, I wrote this out long hand on a spiral notebook that I used to use before I got Darwin [my laptop] and later that night, I typed it up in a Word document.
I sat on it a while and then went back and read it. I can remember smiling after I was finished reading the story because I thought it was good.
And then, I submitted it to a short story contest [maybe five months ago] and I never heard anything back.
So now, I’m posting it here because I still think it’s good and sometimes it’s nice to post stuff that you don’t think sucks.
“Do you have any idea where you’re going?”
Thomas whipped his head around to look at her so quickly that his neck hurt.
“Look. If you want to fucking drive then I’ll pull over right now and let you fucking drive.”
“You don’t have to cuss at me.”
Kristen’s eyes began to tear up and Thomas sighed out of exhaustion and annoyance.
“I’m sorry. Ok? It’s just that you’ve asked me that for the past twenty miles and I’m getting tired of hearing it.”
“Well. Do you know where you’re going?”
Thomas may have been tired of hearing Kristen ask the same question over and over, but Kristen was tired of riding in a stuffy car for miles and miles with no clue as to where she was.
She had a sneaking suspicion that Thomas was as clueless as she currently was.
Thomas let out a deep groan and cut his eyes at Kristen.
“It’s right up here. I promise it’s not that much further. Just sit back, shut up and enjoy the drive.”
“Enjoy the drive, huh? In the pitch black with no signs of life for the past three hours?! Sure. I’ll get right on that.”
In the distance, Kristen caught a glimpse of a light. A house, maybe?
She didn’t know what it was but she had to pee and had needed to for longer than she cared to consider.
The car sped down the two-lane highway and Kristen’s bladder began to hurt.
“You really need to pull over. I don’t care if I have to use the bathroom on the side of the road, but I really have to go! It’s a matter of life or death!”
Kristen knew she was stretching things a bit, but, she really did need to pee…and stretch her legs…and sleep on something other than the car’s seat.
“Matter of life or death, huh? Fine. There’s a gas station right up the road. Can you hold it for ten more minutes?”
“You’ve got maybe ten minutes and then all bets are off. I’m not joking, Thomas. This is ridiculous!”
After eight minutes and thirty-two seconds, (Kristen had been counting) Thomas pulled the car into the parking lot of Kristen’s savior: a rundown gas station.
All of the lights inside the gas station were shut off and the only exterior lights were from the two wooden street lamps stationed in front of the rundown place.
The gas station still had the old lever style pumps and they didn’t look like they had dispensed gas in at least twenty years.
The combination of the cool night air and warm blacktop created an eerie fog that somehow seemed to cover everything.
Before the car had even come to a complete stop, Kristen had the door open and was out of the car hoping against all hope that the gas station’s bathroom wasn’t locked.
One step out of the car and Kristen was on her face…in the chat. Her right leg was asleep and Kristen hadn’t even realized it.
If Thomas hadn’t been sitting in his car still, he would have been rolling on the ground. He was laughing that hard.
“I keep tellin’ ya, Kristen. Patience is a virtue. One of these days, you’re gonna get hurt by not waiting.”
“Shut up, Thomas! I’m tired of hearing your fucking voice! Will you find the damn bathroom already? GOD! Pins and needles!”
Thomas slowly unbuckled his seatbelt, still chuckling at Kristen’s fall and walked over to help her up.
Thomas doubted Kristen’s chance of finding any sort of bathroom that didn’t involve a McDonald’s napkin and a semi-private patch of grass.
Kristen was vigorously rubbing her leg and cussing Thomas under her breath.
Why had she been so stupid to come with him?
At the drop of a hat, she had packed a weekend bag and had hopped into the car with him and his grandiose plans.
Now that her leg wasn’t driving her crazy and all of the chat was out of her mouth, she continued on her own personal journey: finding the bathroom.
Kristen had noticed the absence of lights in the gas station as well and now she was cussing herself for not making Thomas pull over sooner.
“The bathrooms are always on the back of places like this. Do you still need me to help you hobble along?”
Thomas smiled down at Kristen and the twinkle in his eye made her knock his hand away.
“Why don’t you just stay with the car, assbag? I’ll find the bathroom on my own.”
Kristen walked around the side of the utterly deserted station with each step causing an unpleasant tingling in her foot.
Step. Tingle. Step. Tingle.
By the time she made it to the back of the station, her bladder situation had turned into a bladder emergency.
Kristen lunged for the door. She didn’t care what it was like in there; she just wanted a flushing toilet.
Amazingly enough, the door opened and Kristen was greeted with utter darkness and a smell that reminded Kristen of the porta potties at the county fair.
The bathroom was a tiny affair and Kristen was able to pee and hold the door open all at once.
“Thank God for small miracles.” Kristen murmured as she walked back to the front of the station.
And then she noticed that the car was gone.
And so was Thomas.
Her things were sitting in a small, neat pile under one of the street lamps.
“Are you fucking kidding me?!”
Kristen spun around the small parking lot and saw no sign of Thomas.
Just her purse and her bag that she used as a carry-on when she flew…sitting there mocking her.
And a note.
Surely there was an explanation about why he had left. There had to be!
“Something must have happened. That’s right. Something happened and Thomas had to leave right then. He’s coming back. Right now he’s on his way back to pick me up. That Thomas, always the joker.”
Kristen realized that she was only talking to herself and the fog and she groped at the note.
“Patience is something that you never learned, Kristen. You could never wait for anything and now I can’t wait for you. Hope you have a great life.
*This work of fiction was created by me and so you shouldn’t steal it. I own it. You don’t. Read it. Comment on it. But don’t pass it off as your own. In fact, if you want to quote it or use it, you had better contact my ass cause it’s Copyright © 2009 Amy Tucker like a mug, yo.*