Between The Lines

It’s cold. The cool air streams out of the vent by my feet causing my toes to curl. 7 hours. That’s how much longer I have to sit in this metal cage on wheels. There’s empty chip bags and soda cans scattered across the dash. We’ve only been on the road for an hour. I pull my knees to my chest in an effort to warm myself up. Asking Darren to turn the ac down would only start a fight. Something I’d prefer to avoid given I’m trapped in his suburban with no hope for escape. God I hate road trips.

Not that I’d really even call this a road trip. Those are supposed to be fun and there’s usually a handful of planned stops for sightseeing. No chance of that on this drive. It’s been mostly quiet. Darren occasionally looks over at me, perhaps to see if I’m still breathing. Just kidding. He probably just enjoys the misery that’s so evidently plastered on my face. He knew I’d hate this. I haven’t touched the snacks he brought but he’s been consistently reaching into the backseat and grabbing various chips and Cheetos. Disgusting.

“How can you even eat right now?” I asked him.

He keeps on chewing and before putting another handful of lays in his mouth he says, “Would you rather I starve?”

That shut me up. He can be so dramatic. I wasn’t implying he shouldn’t eat but he’s not even hungry. He’s just trying to distract himself, or he’s simply gross. Either way I’m not interested in continuing this exchange so I turned my face toward the window and kept quiet for the next 3 hours.

We’re 2 hours out now. I guess he had to pee again so we’re stopped at a 7/11 right now. I stayed in the car. As soon as he got out I turned the ac off. Maybe he won’t notice and I’ll get to warm up for a bit when we leave. Doubtful. Crazy how he’ll notice the air being off but won’t notice a giant gash on my shoulder. I slipped in the shower and there was blood everywhere. He likes to keep his razor blades on the edge of the tub and somehow I landed on them perfectly. Sliced me up good. You’d think he’d freak and move them. Take me to the hospital and be so apologetic for his stupidity, leaving shit like that laying around. No. Couldn’t even be bothered to help me bandage myself when he got home and saw me in the kitchen struggling to wrap my shoulder in tape and gauze.

I don’t know when I fell asleep but I open my eyes and we’re driving again. The air is on. It’s cold.

“About 20 minutes,” he tells me nonchalantly.

I don’t say anything. I don’t even look at him. The dust on the road would be a better companion. Plus, knowing how close we are makes me so anxious I don’t think I could speak if I wanted to. Have I mentioned that I have no idea where we’re going? Yeah.

The shower incident was two weeks ago, but the kitchen fiasco was only last night. He got home late and found me sitting at the table drinking wine. For some reason that was just the worst thing he’d ever seen in his life because he walked over and shoved me out of my chair, spilling wine all over the table and floor. My glass was plastic, thankfully. But he still threw it across the room, probably hoping to break it. That made me laugh. And that’s when he said we were going on a trip.

Maybe he’s bringing me to some hidden shack where he can really lay into me without threat of exposure due to neighbors. I should just open my door and jump out. The road would end me sooner than he could, right?

Oh God we’ve stopped. Seems like we’re in the middle of nowhere. There’s a small house, basically a shack. My intuition is crazy good. We’re getting out and he gestures towards the door as if to say go inside. I’m not sure what I’ll find in there but if the pouring in my chest and the rocks in my gut know anything, it’s not looking good.

I step through the doorway. It’s rickety and old. Lots of brown and faded yellow. Empty. Literally nothing. The place is desolate. I hear Darren come in behind me.

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