Our room had a lot of mirrors.
Yesterday we got up and dressed and ate kolaches from downstairs before heading to the museum. We spent almost four hours there. I had no idea that The Two Fridas was so big, nearly six feet by six feet.
On the way home we stopped for lunch at Golden Chick because we’d never heard of it, and they turned out to have amazing yeast rolls, so we brought two dozen home with us. It was a good decision; they went over well at dinner.
This year, we’re going northeast for our anniversary, starting with seeing Tom Petty in Little Rock, then lunch in Memphis on our way to Nashville for a week. We’re also going to spend a day in Louisville.
Any suggestions on can’t-miss attractions any of those places?
So far, we have a watercolor class in a Nashville park, the zoo, and some museums in Louisville.
I went looking for a photo prompt at Morguefile and found this, which reminded me of something I did once.
I drove from New Orleans to Edmonton and back when I was twenty-one. It was a totes awesome trip.
I took three days to get there, including an afternoon stop in Baraboo, Wisconsin to meet a couple of internet friends. I was tickled pink when I stopped at a gas station in Baraboo and I finally got to hear a Wisconsin accent. I’m sure the clerk was just as tickled by my Cajun accent.
I drove across the US/Canadian border on a small highway from North Dakota. I didn’t have to wait in line or get out of my car or even have a passport.
I used the tiny inside dial on my speedometer that measures kilometers, and bought my gas by the liter.
I remember watching the glow in the sky grow larger and larger until finally I crested the last hill and I could see Edmonton, bigger and brighter than anywhere I’d ever been by myself. It was so much more than this photo.
And I have to think how much time I would actually spend going through the photos I took of my trip if I’d had a smart phone. It would be nice to have actual photographs of the people I met instead of sketches and faded memories. Photos of the places I saw and the adventures I had.
Then again, it’s pretty cool this way, too.
And I don’t really look at the pictures on my phone that often anyway.
Karen squeaked as her iPod slipped from her hands and fell into the black hole somewhere between the passenger seat and the door of their convertible. She fumbled with the aux cord a moment longer before tucking it under her leg while she fished beside the seat.
Timothy opened his mouth to ask what on earth she was doing, but the question went completely out of his head when the right rear tire popped with a loud bang. The wheel jerked in his hands, and he cringed as he saw Karen’s head strike the door out of the corner of his eye. He quickly regained control of the car and slowed to a stop on the shoulder.
She came up wincing and checked for blood with the palm of her hand before lightly probing her tender scalp with her fingertips.
“Are you okay?” asked Timothy, concern evident in his tone.
“I’m alright,” Karen answered, with one more quick check of her fingertips to make sure they were free of blood. “What happened?”
Timothy shook his head. “Blowout,” he answered. “I guess I must have run something over, but I didn’t see anything.” He shrugged. “I’m glad you’re okay, though.”
Karen opened her door just a hair and leaned over to pick up her iPod from the floor next to the seat. “At least you can have music while you change it,” she offered Timothy. She plugged it in and hit shuffle.
Timothy made a resigned grumble in the back of his mouth and got out to assess the damage. Nothing was bent or broken, and he whistled along to David Guetta as he uneventfully changed the tire. In next to no time at all, he was back behind the wheel, and they were on the road again, driving through the desert on their way to adventure.
When the sheriff passed by the spot a few minutes later, the only thing to mark their stop was a few footprints on the dust just off the shoulder.
Katie packed a quick tote and threw it in the back seat of her car, mumbling to herself the whole time.
“Shit day at work, shit day at home. Bullshit left and right. So sick of you, so sick of you, so sick of you. I’ve got to get out of here.”
She slammed her car door to go back inside the house for one final check for any obviously-needed items. She found none.
Katie picked up her sunglasses from the table beside the front door and put them on her face, snagging her ear in the process and letting a small cry of pain escape her lips. She grimaced and set her face into a sour don’t talk to me mask and slammed the door behind her.
The next door neighbor looked up at the ruckus, but hurriedly looked back down at his weeding after a glimpse at Katie’s face. If she’d noticed, she might have snickered at how well her mask worked.
But she didn’t notice.
She started her car and sat a moment, squeezing the steering wheel. “Shit day,” she muttered, one last time, as she out the car in gear and left the driveway.
A few deep breaths later, she reached out and flipped the radio on.
A few slightly off key songs later, she began to lose the tension in her shoulders.
And by the time she was out of town and driving through the dancing shafts of sunlight cutting between the trees growing to her right, she was smiling.
The mountains were calling.
Staring out the car window, Olivia continued humming along, her head pulsing to the rhythm. She and her father had cleared the city about 20 minutes before; the seemingly endless sight of buildings, row houses, strip malls, concrete and asphalt finally giving way to nothing but empty rolling hills of grass and the straight line of highway stretching out in front of them. It felt like all that crap was actually going to be left far behind.
“Where are we headed, baby girl?” her dad asked. Olivia was the navigator for this escape. She pulled her gaze from the window and focused on the maps app on her phone.
“Um, State Highway 106 north to Wallisburg Falls, and then on to Sioux Falls, Dad.”
“Lots of falls on this trip. Are we on the lam because you have problems with your balance, Liv?” he laughed.
“Very funny, Pops.” Olivia sighed and turned her attention back to the window and the empty grasslands rolling by. Not even a stray dog to capture her attention. Her father was still chuckling to himself as she closed her eyes and leaned her head back to lose herself in her thoughts.
Olivia listened to the tempo the pouring rain beat on the roof above her head, her boyfriend Hector’s bluegrass record playing softly from the living room. What a poser, she thought to herself as he flipped the record to listen to the other side. He’d only taken up bluegrass nine days ago. Before that, it was ska. Before ska, a blessedly short stint of folk punk. She blew him off when he tried to explain that he was finding himself through exploring lesser known musical genres.
The record started to skip, playing the same two notes over and over. Olivia put up with it until she couldn’t take it anymore, and screamed at Hector to turn that off before she stabbed him in the eye. He paid her no mind. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath before getting up from the bed. A short sharp scream distracted her, and she took a step to the window to look out and see what she could see. She gasped. Peeking through the window, her surprise turned to horror as she realized what she was actually seeing.
Hector was lying on the ground with a knife sticking out of his eye socket.
The car hit a bump in the road, making the CD skip and forcing Olivia to come shuddering back to the present. She slapped the radio, turning it off. That song sounded too much like Hector’s stupid bluegrass. Too close for comfort.
“Good morning, sleepyhead,” her dad smiled at her.
Olivia grunted in response. “Where are we? And why were you listening to a CD anyway instead of the radio? You can’t get news reports from prerecorded music, Dad.”
“I haven’t heard a thing all night, Liv. Got sick of waiting, so I put the Bee Gees in. Because we’re staying alive,” he winked at her. “Not like poor old Hector.”
“Stop the car. Now!” she screamed.
Olivia threw the door open before the car was stopped and vomited on the shoulder. She hung on the door, breathing heavily, hair swinging in her face. Finally, she sat up and glared at her father.
“Don’t ever say his name. Not ever.” The fire in her eyes spoke volumes more than her words.
“Lighten up, Liv. You know it’s not the first time we’ve had to move quick. Remember Marcus?” He gave her a pointed look.
“Marcus got what was coming to him, Dad. It’s not the same thing at all, and you know it. How long until we get to South Dakota?” she asked.
“Another hour or so. Maybe less if I could get back on the road. You done puking?”
Olivia slammed the door and threw her head back against the headrest. “Lay on, MacDuff.”
Her father handed her a napkin to wipe her face as he pulled back onto the road and floored it.