Detour

Let’s go for a drive. I’ll put my seatbelt on and we can pretend for a moment that cars aren’t our most dangerous invention. Let’s go for a drive. I won’t have to be a good guest and you won’t have to be the host. You can talk at me while my mind wanders to other places and other times. We’ll leave the radio off and roll the windows down and I will turn away from you with my arm out the window. I’ll keep my feet off the dash cause I know you think that’s weird.
You can tell me stories of the people you used to know, of the person you used to be, the places you’ve learned, and the rumors you’ve heard, and I will remember my summers in Tucson: eating chips poolside with my girl cousins; pretending to like the spicy chorizo at breakfast with my grandma; watching for snakes, scorpions, and cacti in some random desert yard; climbing trees littered with cicadas with my brother; losing to my dad at racquetball; smiling anxiously at an adult party at the adult conversations and jokes going on around me; fireworks over the mountains from rooftops; cold pristine malls with $20 in my pocket; monsoon scares and flooded streets. How strange it is that my year is no longer marked by Arizona summers. By cookouts and bathing suits and piñatas.

You can talk at me, and I will laugh or acknowledge you with that noise from the back of my throat. I will tune back in at the most opportune moment and you might not even notice a difference. Since we’ll be driving though, you probably won’t care if I’m really paying attention or not. For a moment, the focus will be on neither of us. We will forget about ourselves as the clouds puff out before us. You can late brake and get lost and shift in your seat and I won’t even comment on your driving skills. I will watch as the wind catches your hair. I’ll try to identify the expression in your eyes behind your sunglasses. You will start to get a little bored, so you’ll accelerate over the hill and swerve slightly for the chipmunk crossing the road. We will laugh for a moment together. And then I will return to my head. I will think back to the weekend when you weren’t there. I’ll think of tomorrow, when we’ll be apart.
We can talk about whatever you want in the car, or we can talk about nothing at all. I can be who you want me to be in the car. I’ll let you be who you want while we’re in the car. It’s only fair. Out of all the lives I’ve tried to lead, only death has brought me home.

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