The car stops at a halt in the 7-Eleven parking lot. I glance over at Dustin, wondering what the stop is for. All I know for sure though is I need a restroom in the next couple of minutes.
“A break. My legs feel like they’re about to fall off.” He answers my question without me having to say anything. I get out of the passenger’s seat. The sun beats down on me relentlessly. Maybe it wasn’t the best idea wearing pants and a long sleeve shirt. I follow Dustin to the small building. He opens the door for me. I walk into the satisfyingly cold air within the gas station.
“I’m so hot.” I groan with annoyance. Unfortunately Dustin’s air conditioning is less than what I was hoping. I stand in the middle of the doorway with my sleeves rolled up to my elbows.
“You have a tank top on right? Just take the shirt off.” Dustin suggests he look over at me with mild amusement.
“Well yeah. Okay.” I head towards the bathroom. I open the door to reveal a grotesque scene. Bloody tampons litter the floor in various places. The need to puke has never been more urgent in my entire life. I rush to the cleanest stall I can identify. As quickly as I can I take care of my business and strip my shirt off. I can barely convince myself to wash my hands in the slightly murky water. When I finally break out of the disgusting bathroom, Dustin is waiting for me at the doors. He shoots me a strange look before returning to the car without me. What was that about?
I get into the car with an aura of irritation. What’s his problem? I attempt to block a sunbeam from shining in my face. I push my sunglasses back to place when the sweat accumulating on my nose pulls it down. The sound of Dustin’s finger tapping the steering wheel breaks the silence. He’s so great to be around…His most annoying habit? Probably his nervous twitches…Whatever Taz. You took that the wrong way. I bury my face in my forearm wanting to escape everything. I love you, you know that right? Her death wasn’t enough was it? Now I have to relive every moment with her knowing I’m never going to see her again. I’m pulled back to reality when the song brown eyed girl comes on the radio. My brown eyed girl, you my brown eyed girl…
“Whatever happened to Tuesday and so slow?” Dustin sings along he glances over at me, a sly look on his face. He remembers doesn’t he? “Going down to the old mine.” He nods his head to the music for full effect, reenacting the scene. We had been sitting in Hannah’s old truck and this song came on. Hannah and Dustin both having exotically colored eyes turned towards me and began to sing the song to me while I rolled my eyes and sang with them. I miss those days. I look out the window as I grow sad. I block out the music and his singing. That’s right, you my brown eyed girl…
“Taz?” Dustin asks after a long moment. He places his hand over mine in a friendly gesture.
“Yeah?” I rest my head against warm glass window.
“Nothing.” Dustin doesn’t say much after that, mostly just reminding me what time it is and how much longer it will take to get there. At this point the remaining three hours feel like forever. I shift in my seat trying to get comfortable. The sky grows darker as the sun lowers to make room for the moon. A soft tap on my arm keeps me from drifting off to sleep.
“We’re almost there” Dustin states, he lets out a deep breath of air. I stare at the road ahead, the two yellow lines appear to go on forever. Almost as if they could lead anywhere.
Its pitch black by the time we stop. I stare with wonder at the huge willow trees around us. In the center of the town stands the largest weeping willow tree I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Fairy lights expel the dark on its graceful branches. Street lights line the road every so often, just right so each house is properly displayed in the dark night. Dustin opens his door first to experience the sweltering heat and humidity. I step out of the car as well. I find the humidity comforting, it feels as though the air around is giving me a hug.
“It’s beautiful.” I state in my phase of awe. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect place.
“Think they’d find us?” Dustin asks, he looks over at me his green eyes broadcasting his worry.
“Hopefully not.” I respond before sitting under the large willow tree. Someone walks past us before turning back to do a double take.
“Whoa there. Are you lost?” The stranger asks, he tips his hat up.
“No, we’re new around here.” Dustin answers for the both of us.
“Yeah? Not many people move here, that’s for sure. Excuse my manners, I’m Rustin.” He introduces himself.
“I’m Taz.” I greet with curiosity.
“Dustin.” Dustin holds his hand out to shake Rustin’s.
“Man Sherry is never going to leave me alone when she finds out our names rhyme.” Rustin groans, he pauses to examine us “Do you two have a place to stay for the night?”