The rain blurred the windshield, the roads barely cooperating with the driver’s eyes. Those, too, were blurred with a heavy sleepiness, as though every new minute was an impossible stretch of a million years. She glanced up into the rearview mirror, the lit water droplets against the back window spotting behind her reflection with a shimmer of lost glamour.

“Looking back won’t help.” The driver turned toward the voice in the passenger seat. There next to her, buckled neatly into the blackened leather seat, was the only other person who mattered in her life, the only other ripple in her pond of a universe.

“I know,” the driver sighed, “I just can’t help it.”

Shifting her gaze back to the puddling tar, she wrapped her fingers tightly around the steering wheel, allowing it to squeak pitifully with the crunch of her grip.

She flipped the turn signal upward, the tick tick tick tick of her upcoming right filling the vehicle’s soupy silence, dropping in like ground pepper. The car slowed to an easy putter, she looked steadily at the road ahead. No oncoming traffic. She pulled her fingers up off of the wheel and, one over the other, pulled the car onto the next street. The headlights pinched through the foggy night air, losing itself along the way.

The passenger leaned forward and shoved the power button inward, clicking the radio on. Neil Diamond. The music somehow felt forced and uninvited. Without prompt, she clicked the seek button with an annoyed syllable of breath. NPR, National Public Radio. A story about Hardees Hamburgers. Digestible. She sat back against the leather and pushed out a ballooned sigh. The whoosh through her lips was like a skipping stone over the rainy roadways, in slight bursts but deep and long.

And, without further conversation, the driver and the passenger headed out into the night, not knowing when the rain would finally lift.

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