Driving with the Sun

Photo by Liam Pozz via Unsplash

Millie’s “idea,”  and my four highschool years worth of coffee shop paychecks Audi, lead to this adventure. Well, in all honesty the idea was mine, after a drunken summer excursion with the old IT crowd. But a few well placed text messages over different time zones, with two months and a day, its fall break, and I’m in my car with the old uncool crowd, thanking her for inviting me to the Hot Springs. I’m driving and she’s shotgun, trying to convince me that German metal is better than Taylor Swift for the millionth time. I’m nodding, and she’s waving her freckled hands near my face, my orange tie dye crewneck pooling around her arms, and screaming German coming from the speakers. 

“I’m telling you, Germany’s got it all right! How is some song about ivy better than Rammstein?” 

I’m not even listening. Last time that crewneck was worn, I could smell salt. She wanted to look at her racing course for the sailing regatta, and my feet were in the sand. It was the first time she set my face aflame, permanently wrecking my heart. Now, all her clothes are in the wash, her Mom’s convinced NYU dorm washing machines don’t work. So I’m in my coffee stained Capilano U hoodie, while she’s got the crewneck. She’s still talking, and now Pete’s nodding along from the back. Coconut perfume, a present from my Mum in 8th grade, wafts in my direction. I want to groan at my desperation, knowing now I’m not going to wash it ‘till the smell is gone. With blood rushing, I adjust my streaky cherry blossom pink manicure. A thank you gift from Millie, the then ten year old fairy queen, for coming to tea. I almost miss the turn, jerking the wheel, throwing everyone.

“What the hell!” 

“Eyes are on the road!”

Thanks back-seaters, I think bitterly, you try to drive next to this intoxicating distraction.

“Hey space cadet, can you manage to get us the rest of the way without creating a new backroad?”

“Millie, I can keep my head out of the clouds. Besides, we’re almost there.”

Megawatt smile, nose scrunching, blond eyebrows peeking from underneath bangs… Oh god, this car’s going to go into a ditch. My face is a flame. My heart is screaming.

“Ok, whatever you say, Char.” 

Oh god, not the nickname. I hit the brakes hard as I pull off, squeaking onto the gravel shoulder. The path to the Hot Springs is only a few feet away so I closed my eyes, just for a second, to catch myself. My feelings are out of control. We’re worlds apart. I’m a part-timer at college with no future plans, and she’s off in New York, working hard, always sure of herself. Millie, I tell myself, get a grip. The whoosh of the driver’s door, Millies’s mock bow, eyes crinkled, asking me to lead the way. I’m Icarus, and she’s the sun. I’m doomed.