“How did you know?” I ask, not sure I want the answer. I thought I had been careful. I thought Minnie felt only my feigned support and cheerfulness.
“I don’t know,” she shrugs. “Just a feeling.”
Blurred asphalt and weeds fill my eyes. A dilapidated farm house in the distance. The road is eerily free of billboards and other thirst traps. Just monotonous country stretching endlessly for twenty miles until we get to the mall. Minnie is moving eight hours away. Eight hours will separate our lives. On one side of time, Minnie begins her new life. On the other end, my life stands still. Movement and inertia.
I hand Minnie a stick of gum. We pass the exit for Newcastle, the mid-sized town my ex-boyfriend moved to. I wonder how he’s doing.
“Do you want some music?” Minnie asks, reaching for a random CD in the console.
Sade croons morosely from the speakers. “This may come, this may come as a surprise. But I miss you.”
“Ugh! Why did you pick her? Her songs make you want to slit your wrists.”
“I didn’t see what I was picking up. Put on the radio then.”
“Naw, that’s all right.” I gaze out of the window then glance back at Minnie. Her unruly brown curls spiral to her shoulders. Tiny beads of sweat form at her temple. Clouds have rolled in. It begins to drizzle. Minnie turns on the wipers.
“Have you started packing yet?” I ask trying to brighten my voice and lift the dark mood I’ve created.
Minnie lets out a sigh. “Yeah. I’m almost half way done. I didn’t realize I had so much stuff. I have to figure out what to take and what to leave behind, you know?”
I do know. Will I be one of those left behind items she doesn’t have room to take and eventually forgets about?
“You’ll have to come visit me,” Minnie adds. “I’m kind of nervous being in the city all by myself.” Her voice trails off.
Eight hours to measure our friendship. Eight hours to move from one place to the next, one state of being to the next. One life to the next. But what appears to be inertia on the outside misleads us. Some of us move from the outside to the inside to find life, spark. When the outside becomes too much, we move inside and set up a whole new existence. The dream world that awakens and comes to life. The dream that becomes as real as the two little birds fighting over a pizza crust.
“I could see through all of your lies, but still I miss you.”
We arrive at the mall. I can’t wait to see the merry-go-round.