She looked up from the map in time to see a garland of plastic flags in blues, yellows and reds flapping in the wind. They were hung between structures of metal and wood rising from the barren landscape.
“Gas station!” She pointed just in case he missed the only man-made structure they’d seen in miles.
“We don’t need a gas station. I know where we’re going.” He said with a confidence that only served to annoy her.
“Considering the fact that we were supposed to be there twenty minutes ago, I beg to differ. And, by the way, speeding isn’t going to get us there any faster if we’re heading in the wrong direction.”
He reached over placing a comforting hand on her knee.
“It’s fine. I have this under control. You just sit back and relax.”
He truly had no idea what he had gotten himself into. She’d told him he didn’t have to attend the event, but he insisted. Poor guy actually wanted to meet her mother.
It’s not like I didn’t warn him, she thought. Repeatedly.
Her mother had a way of picking her boyfriends’ apart without having to say a disparaging word. It both fascinated and angered her. The last boyfriend she’d met, a struggling artist, caused her mother’s face to tighten to levels she had never seen before. She couldn’t deny that she took a little pleasure in it.
“You don’t like him, huh?” she had asked.
“Only you can choose the direction your life takes, dear.”
It was the same tight lipped response her mother had given for every boyfriend she found the courage to introduce her to.
Words always dripped so condescendingly from her mother’s lips—yet she craved her opinion. She hated that part of herself. The part that needed warmth from a mother who was cold as ice.
The blare of a siren and red lights strobing the interior of the car drew her out of her thoughts. She sighed as he slowed the vehicle and pulled off to the side of the road.
At least I can ask if we’re heading in the right direction, she thought.