“Well we’ve made it.”
“What do you mean? We haven’t made it to Oregon.”
“No, I mean we’ve made it to California.”
“Oh. Right. Listen, can we skip L.A. and stuff? I don’t care to see it at this point in my life.” He’d seen it before actually, and had too many bad experiences that eventually caused him to never go back again. He didn’t enjoy talking about it either.
She was hesitant. She really wanted to see it. She’d never been and was attracted to the idea of celebrities and Pretty Woman – not the actual act, but the movie and the sites from the movie. But if he didn’t want to go and they did, then he’d complain the entire time and that would just spoil it for her. “Alright. We won’t go. Napa maybe?”
“Napa’s fine. It’s be a long drive but we can definitely do Napa. How did those photos turn out from New Mexico?”
“Really great actually. I just sent five out and have, I think, three more to edit before sending. Remember that older man who was missing a tooth and raved on about it raining cows?”
“Yeah, what about him?”
“His turned out really great. I was kind of surprised because I kept shaking from trying not to laugh. But there’s something in that photo that says more about the guy than madness.”
“Interesting,” he replied half-heartedly. He was getting tired of this trip. Of talking about crazy men who claimed cows were going to fall from the sky. Or women who acted like they were from the city when they were from nowhere, Arizona. Middle aged men who made bad jokes, talked about the glory days (aka All-State Basketball Champs 1979) and poked fun at their chubby children, who really weren’t that chubby, just normal. All of this was taking a toll on him. Not to mention he just had a phone call that he was going to be evicted from his apartment. The landlord didn’t even give a good reason, but turned around and said he had three weeks to get out. He come home from this trip, pack up his stuff and move into a cardboard box. Gee, what great news.
The entire time he had been thinking this, she continued to talk about her subjects.
“Listen, I’m really tired. Can you give it a rest?”
She was instantly wounded and he could tell. “I’m sorry, it’s just, I’m just -”
“You’re tired. I get it. Yeah, sure. Do you mind music then? Quiet music?”
“Yeah that’d be fine.”
She chose something while making slight swerves in the road, glancing back and forth from iPod to outside the front windshield. She chose something and put the iPod back in it’s makeshift holder. He felt awful for making her feel this way. He wanted to explain himself but he didn’t want pity. He didn’t want her to come up with a solution for him, which he knew she would. But on the other hand, she was his best friend. And her solutions usually worked. Why shouldn’t he tell her?
“When we get back from this trip, I’ll be homeless.”
“What?!” She almost stopped the car right then and there. It wouldn’t have mattered though. The were the only ones on the road. “What do you mean?”
“My landlord is kicking me out for some reason.”
“He didn’t say why?”
“Nope. Just said I’d have three weeks to get my stuff out. I think I knew it all along. The guy was always shady.”
“You sound too nonchalant about this. How can you be nonchalant?!”
“I’m freaking out inside, trust me. I’m just so exhausted by all of this -”
“All of this? What do you mean?”
He paused. Should he tell her he’s tired of the trip? “Well, I mean, I’m just tired of all the driving, the people I guess.”
“But the people have been great! We’ve been having fun!”
“I know. Everything’s just taking it’s toll on me. Especially with this apartment thing. I don’t know what I’m going to do. We’re on this trip and I don’t have time to look for a new apartment before I have to move out.”
“Well you can stay with me then until you find something.”
“Is that really a good idea? Where would you put me? You changed the second bedroom into an office.”
“We’ll put your big items in a storage unit and I’ll turn the office back into a bedroom. Come on, it won’t be that bad. You won’t have to pay rent and I can help you look for an apartment.”
“I don’t know. I don’t know if I even want to stay there.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean I don’t think I want to live in the Midwest any longer.”
She got quiet. What he was suggesting was something she couldn’t think about at all. Him moving away? Her losing her best friend? She couldn’t do it. She wondered where he’d move. She wondered if she’d move with him. She loved her job, but maybe her job was something that could be replaced if it meant being around him. Or was it time to move on?
“Where would you go?”
“San Francisco.” The answer was immediate and unexpected for both of them. He looked at her. He looked back at the road. San Francisco? Really? Where did that come from? But he thought about it. He enjoyed the city the few times he’d visited. It was a good location. He had a network of contacts he could call for a job and even for an apartment. It made sense.
“We need to go to San Francisco,” he said decidedly.
She looked at him. She looked at the road. “Ok,” she said finally. “Pull out the map. We’re going to San Francisco.”