Carol couldn’t remember what they had been talking about, or where exactly they had decided to go — or even if a decision had been made at all — but she kept on driving anyway. The buzzing cadence of voices from the passenger seat to the backseat seemed false in her ears, and she turned up the radio. She wasn’t sure if she knew the song but she continued to hum along, tapping her long fingers on the steering wheel.
Carol knew she should probably ask one of them where they were going, but instead bore down on the gas pedal, exits whizzing by at faster and faster speeds. The stuffy interior of her car caused her to choke a little, and she paused her tuneless humming to crank down the driver’s side window. Wind bounced and pulsed against the inside of the car, trapped with no other open windows to escape through.
The pulsing gave her a headache.
Carol remembered a line from a show she loved to hate, an unremarkable phrase about long twisting two-lane roads and yellowed street lights and the unnamable loneliness of bad diner food. The speedometer climbed, sixty eighty ninety.
Carol turned the radio off in one motion, snapping back into the moment just as the voice in the passenger seat screamed at her in bright, loud tones that made the pounding in her head intensify. The conversation had ceased without her noticing, but now she couldn’t even place exactly when it had begun. Who was yelling in her right ear, whose hand was lunging up from the backseat, fingernails scratching at the steering wheel? The truck materialized in front of her rickety car, and she wondered if the driver knew where she was supposed to be going, or if they were just as lost as she was.
The pulsing stopped.