The couple with two kids were twenty-five miles outside of Dallas. They had driven throughout the night from Little Rock. A mini-van can only go so fast. The little boy sat in the very back of the vehicle; watching America go by. While his older sister, a teenager, listened to music with headphones on; detached from the experience; keeping her family far away from her thoughts, her fears, her dreams.
She couldn’t wait to graduate. Leave her family behind. No college, just save up money from McDonald’s and leave. Maybe New York, or, Chicago. Perhaps Los Angeles. The girl had just got her first tattoo; a boy’s name on her ass. Later that boy would break up with her. But, she didn’t feel foolish. It was her secret. Soon she’d have full sleeves just like her hero on one of those cable shows. Rebellion can kill you.
Mom and dad kept flipping the radio dial as they crossed a big lake; looking out at tall buildings in the distance, seeing semis and Greyhounds pass them by. The boy pretended he was in a space capsule and played with pretend buttons above him. Soon will be landing, he whispered. Ready for touchdown, he said with hushed sound effects. The van was only going sixty-five; hardly breaking the sound barrier.
A blue Texas sky was above them. The sun was glowing a bright orange, while a milky white moon stuck around for a little while longer. You think we made the right decision? mom asked as she patted dad’s thigh. He nodded his head. Said what a great opportunity this was for the whole family. What she wanted to say was what a great opportunity it was for him. He’d dragged them around the country from one job to the next. Indiana, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, now Texas. Seemed like every two years they were on the move. Nothing stuck.
I promise this is it, he said. Last time we move, she nodded her head; she’d heard that before. I promise.