Him, her and the new adventure

We never made it past San Francisco. We stopped there and stayed for over a week. He loved it. And it was growing on me. It took some time, but even after a week I started to get used to the streets, the way people do business, how to act around employees to get a decent latte. He found an apartment too, which surprised both of us after realizing the first day of semi-looking that you basically need to hire someone or landlords won’t take you seriously.

It’s got a great view. And apparently the place was recently renovated and re-decorated by some famous interior designer. Well he must only be famous in San Fran because I’ve never seen him on HGTV or in Home and Garden. There’s a bay window, which is great. I’ve always adored bay windows. So I told him if he got the apartment, even if we had a dispute that would keep me from talking to him, I’d come over still just for the window. That seemed to reassure him somewhat. The great thing too is that the guy was offering it for a decent price. But he’s still looking for a job before he signs anything. He had better find one soon too or else that apartment’s gone. There was a gay couple looking at it too. We passed them as they were on their way out. They couldn’t stop talking about the designer too. “Oh my god, can you believe it! An original design from (fill in hot name here)!” “Oh I know! And that bay window!” Hearing the words “bay window” come out of that man’s mouth almost made me knock them over as I dashed inside.

Anyway, he’s out looking for a job right now. There are some leads too. It’s crazy how fast this is all happening. One mile we’re enjoying an open road and the next we’re helping him find a job and an apartment.

Me? Well I’ve been considering this move. I really can’t imagine a life away from him, not romantically of course. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I never considered the idea. It’s not like he hasn’t either. Maybe. We never really talked about that to each other. All my other friends think we’re just made for each other. Or that we spend so much time together we might as well get married. I’ll admit, there were brief moments while looking at that apartment that I toyed with the idea that that bay window could actually be mine as well. Not just as an unspoken agreement between the two of us, but actually on paper.

Anyway, I picked up the September issue of Vogue the other day and I’ve been pouring over it every spare chance I get. I love the clothes and the colors but I also read Vogue for the editorials because, despite what the opinions and views others own, Vogue can actually write some great stuff on matters other than fashion. For example, their article on Jon Huntsman, one of the men running for the Republican slot for the 2012 election. I won’t go into all the details about the article or Huntsman, but the article’s there. But reading Vogue made me think about a career in fashion. Maybe not the clothes portion, but writing about the clothes, critiquing the clothes. I don’t know if I could ever be the next Anna Wintour, but maybe I’ve got a knack for fashion. I just don’t know if I could ever get on board with some of the styles that are hot right now. Well I just heard about Bay Fashion Magazine. Maybe I’ll start applying there. Who knows? I could work my up to some higher position in Vogue. The dreamer’s dream. Needless to say, I don’t think I’ll be moving to San Francisco anytime soon. Not unless something big is offered my way. For now, I’ll assist my best friend in finding a job and getting the apartment of his dreams (and bay window of mine) and then I’ll fly back home. I’ve already posted the VW for sale online and have had several offers. Apparently the bus is worth much more than what I paid for because I’m getting some pretty high offers. I’m about the finalize the deal later today. So I’ll fly back home, go back to work (grateful they allowed me to take such a long vacation and still return) and figure things out from there. We’re beginning new adventures now.

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Him, her and San Francisco

“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.”

Him, her and the moose sighting…or lack thereof

“Goodbye South Dakota. I feel like I’ve slept through the entire state.”

“You kinda did,” he replied. Now it was his turn. She was finally behind the driver’s wheel, a rare occasion, and he would finally be able to allow the lull of the old van rock him back and forth to sleep. He unbuckled his seat belt and climbed into the back and started setting up his bed.

“You can’t sleep now!” she said looking nervously into the rearview mirror.

“That’s what I’m doing though,” he replied continuing in his activity.

“You’re just going to leave me to fend for myself?” She paused for a moment. “Wait, where are we even going?”

“Well the plan was Nebraska -”

“Why would we want to go to Nebraska?”

“Like I was saying, the plan was Nebraska, but we could go somewhere else.”

“Ok, where? And you better get back up here because if you don’t we might end up in Arizona or something. Mexico even.”

He stopped what he was doing and looked to the front of the van. Should this have been a movie, a computer generated light bulb would have appeared above his head, turning on and burning bright as the ideas became stronger.

“Let’s go south,” he said.

“How far south?”

“As south as we want to go. We’re driving through Wyoming right now. So let’s drive through and go to Colorado. We’ll stay there for a week. Then we’ll go to New Mexico, maybe stop in Mexico for a little bit. Then we’ll make our way back up through Arizona to California -”

“To Oregon and finally Washington!” she finished.

“It’s perfect really. I’m tired of seeing corn fields and cows. If I wanted that I would have stayed at home.”

“We live like two hours away from that scene though.”

“Still -”

“Alright, alright,” she said finding confidence. “Go ahead and sleep -”

“Was going to anyway,” he interjected. She ignored him and continued talking.

“And I’ll just follow signs for Colorado. Hey! Let’s go to the Tetons!”

“Sounds good to me,” he replied. The bed was made and was already laying down.

“It’ll be a great photo opportunity, and maybe we can do some hiking, and -”

“Mmhmm.” His head was hitting the pillow.

“And maybe we can find a great diner or something with good pie!”

“Sounds good…” he trailed off. In seconds he was asleep.

“This’ll be great! I love this new plan. We might have to sell some photos or something along the way, just to make some more money for food and gas. What do you think of that?” When there was no answer, she looked into the rearview mirror and found him sleeping soundly, even snoring a little bit.

“Well alrighty then,” she said to herself. “This is good. I can do this.”

He woke up with a jolt and discovered the van had stopped. He was also freezing despite the two layers of blankets he had on top of him. There was little light coming into the van. When he looked out the window he thought it was maybe early morning around 5:30 or 6:00. Then he took in the rest of his surroundings. Huge beautiful mountains covered in snow filled the landscape from window pane to window pane and beyond. He looked around for his traveling companion but couldn’t find her in the driver’s seat. He looked to his other side and found her sitting on the edge of the van, drinking something. It smelled like coffee. And not the crappy stuff they were forced to make some mornings.

“How long have I been out? And is there more of whatever you’re drinking?”

“Nine hours, and yes. I got it from the ranger’s station a mile down the road.” She handed him a cup and he took a long satisfying sip. It was creamy, strong, and “magically delicious,” he said. This brought a slight chuckle out of her.

“So I see we made it to the mountains. What time is it by the way?”

“It’s about 6:00 in the morning.” She turned toward him and started laughing. “Hey. You wanna know something hilarious?” She had exaggerated the syllables in the last word, making it sound like this was something he may not enjoy hearing.

“Sure,” he said cautiously.

“Grand Teton National Park isn’t in Colorado.”

“Right, it’s in Wyoming. I could have told you that.”

“Well you didn’t. And now that’s where we are.” Yelling, she added, “WE’RE STILL IN WYOMING!” There was a distant bird call in response to her anger.

“Ok,” he said slowly. “Well, that’s alright. We’ll just stay here for a day or two. Maybe three and then we’ll head down to Colorado.”

“There’s a problem. The finances are running low.”

“How low.”

“We need to start selling things.”

He was even more cautious with his next response. “What kind of things?”

She looked at him as if to say, seriously? “I’m not suggesting our bodies dummy.”

“What have I told you about calling me a dummy?!”

“I’m sorry, but I’m really upset about this!”

He cooled down. They didn’t need for both of them to be angry. “Ok, so what do you suggest?”

“Well I have my camera. And there’s a diner about five miles away that looked promising for potential customers. We’ve been taking pictures all summer and we can take pictures here. Maybe try to get some wildlife shots or something to mix it up. Or! We could take portraits! Yeah, we’ll set up a little studio outside or something, and we’ll charge people to take their portraits.”

He thought about this for a moment. That actually didn’t sound half bad.

“That doesn’t sound half bad,” he said. He wondered why they hadn’t been doing this earlier.

“Why haven’t we been doing this earlier?” he asked.

“No idea! It’s brilliant, but I guess we didn’t have the pressure to come up with it.”

“Alright, we can do this. Is your camera film or digital.”

“You’ve been using it all summer and you don’t know this by now?”

He looked at her, waiting.

“Digital.”

“Good. We’ll take a few photos of each person. I can load them onto my laptop -”

“Why not mine?”

“Mine’s faster. And I have an external hard drive.”

“Fine.”

“And we’ll let the people look at them. But first we need to find a good photo center.”

“Ooh! There’s one online! And they offer matting and framing too! We can have our customers watch us and choose the specifics on each order and we’ll have them pay for shipping and handling – no, wait. I just signed up. I get free shipping and handling for a year with this company! Perfect. So they pay us cash and then they pay for the matting and framing if they want and they can watch us type in their address. Then the photos will be shipped straight to them!”

“This is brilliant,” he said grabbing her face and giving her a quick kiss on the lips. “Brilliant!” He was beaming. She was taken off guard.

“What was that for?”

“For the stroke of genius you just had,” he said slightly ruffling her hair. He went to work putting away the bedding and went outside to freshen up and go to the bathroom. She could only sit there. She was still only sitting there when he returned five minutes later.

“Ready?” he asked her putting away his toiletries.

“Hmm? Oh, right. Yeah, let’s get started.” She dug around for her camera materials and started setting up. “I want to get in a few test photos first and I figured we could um, we could walk around or something…”

“A mini hike? Sounds good to me.”

She finished putting the camera together and started walking. He followed closely behind. He knew what he did had taken her off guard and probably confused her. But it was all he could do to not look frazzled by his actions and break down and start apologizing. He had to keep it cool. They just had to finish this road trip and then maybe, just maybe he could tell her. But it was possible that she would bring it up. That was just the type of person she was. He’d be shocked if she didn’t bring it up later in the day. He watched her stop along the way and find different things to take photos of, taking a few seconds to look at the picture on her camera, judging if she should retake it or not. She still looked puzzled and he knew that this was probably eating away at her. He couldn’t let her go on like this for three more weeks. It would be cruel. If she didn’t bring it up within a day, he would. He’d tell her. And he wouldn’t be shy about it. He’d be direct. And if it really screwed things up, he’d purchase the plane tickets himself and they’d go home and probably never talk again. But he’d hate that. He would really hate that. Maybe he should just bring it up now. Yes, now is as good a time as ever.

He started to speak when she turned to him and said, “Ok, I think I’m done here. We should go check out that diner. Maybe even try and find the nearest town so we can get more customers.”

Maybe this wasn’t eating away at her. Maybe she was fine after all. Now he was confused. “Ok, sure. If you’re ready.”

“I am.” And she started walking.

They made it back to the van quickly. She got in the driver’s seat, he in the passenger’s. She started the van and turned it around, driving back down toward the diner. She was silent. She didn’t even bother to put the music on and he was afraid to ask about it. So he remained silent as well, looking out the window and occasionally he took small glances in her direction. Her expression was stoic as she looked straight ahead, as if she had a target and wasn’t going to let anything distract her. Not even the moose that appeared on his side of the road about fifty yards away from them. He decided now was not the time to bring anything to her attention. Not the moose. And definitely not his feelings toward her.

Him, her and the phone call

“I really like these people,” she whispered to him while the others joked around. They were standing in a small circle of people they had recently met on their way through Michigan.

“Yeah, they’re not bad,” he replied taking his last drag of the cigar he had been smoking for the past forty-five minutes. They were all having fun, talking about random things, joking around, sometimes flirting, but all in the respectable name of good fun.

She stood there, leaning back against the car, occasionally playing with her phone but not really expecting any calls or text messages. Though she enjoyed the group, she was getting tired of standing and getting bit by the mosquitos. She tried to keep her mood up, but she had just received a text message from her dad saying her aunt was being rushed into the emergency room. She didn’t think it would be that big of a deal. Something minor hopefully. But she still couldn’t settle her mind. She kept all this silent though, even from him. Her dad had asked her to pray for her aunt and she replied a short but sincere “I will!” Suddenly her phone rang.

It was her dad.

“Hey,” she said walking slowly away from the group.

“Hi, honny,” her dad replied on the other end.

“So tell me what’s going on.” She found a metal link fence to rest on as she tried to mentally prepare herself for what could be said.

“It’s not good. She’s being life-flighted to another hospital for immediate surgery. She’s just been in a lot of pain these past two weeks, but she’s waited until now to do something about it. You know how she is.”

“Yeah,” she said quietly. It was all she could muster at the moment. She just listened, hoping her dad would know she really was listening and not zoning out like he thought many other times. She kicked her sandal into the ground multiple times, like a cigarette’s final existence being stamped out on pavement or a cold glass dish.

“Just get as many of your friends to start praying for her, ok?”

“Ok.” She looked back to her group of newly found friends.

“Hey!” One of them shouted toward her. “Come on, don’t be rude,” the girl said turning back to the group and laughing.

“Hey, is everything alright?” he asked her looking slightly worried.

She looked at him then back toward the neighbor’s yard. She wouldn’t be bringing this up in front of these people. They weren’t the right ones. Who could she ask?

“I’ll keep you updated,” said the voice on the other end of the line.

“Thanks, dad. Love you,” her voice was at a low decibel now.

“Love you too. I’ll talk to you soon.”

When she hung up she had three people in mind to immediately text for help. She tried to make it quick before the pestering from the rest of the group got out of hand, then joined them once again putting on a smile, unable to break the mood.

Later that night, she walked into the bedroom they were sleeping in for the night. She looked at him and decided to tell him. She could trust him right?

“You know that phone call I got tonight?”

“Yeah, what about it?”

“It was my dad. My aunt’s in surgery right now. She’s really not doing well.”

“Hey, I’m really sorry,” he said pulling her in to him. Her gave her a long hug and a quick squeeze before letting her go on.

“Can you pray for her please?”

“Absolutely! Yes, I’ll definitely do that.” He looked her straight in the eye and gave a sympathetic smile.

“Thanks. I think, I think I’m just going to go to bed now. I mean we have a long day ahead of us tomorrow.”

“Yeah. Yeah, ok. Sleep well, alright?”

“Ok,” she said, head already attached to her pillow. Her eyes closed and almost immediately he could hear the steady heavy breathing he had become used to the past week or so. He watched her for a few minutes then laid down in his bed. He fell asleep quickly.

The next morning he woke up to see her bed vacant and made up already. Her bag was packed on sitting on the end of the bed. She walked in quietly before looking over.

“Oh, hi,” she said smiling. “You’re up. Good. Listen, there’s breakfast out in the kitchen already made. And coffee. Really good coffee. I’ve already gassed up the van and stocked it with a few snacks and water bottles to get us by.”

He looked at his watch. It read 8:13. “What time did you get up?”

“Oh like 7:00 or something around there. Hey, I don’t mean to rush you but we should really get on the road soon.”

“Ok, yeah,” he said slowly getting up. “Let me just take a quick shower. Could you maybe fill my travel mug with some of that coffee? Then I’ll just grab some food and we can go.”

“Your mug’s already filled. Tiny little bit of cream and one sugar lump. It’s staying warm by the stove though. And don’t worry about driving today. I’ll go ahead and start the trip.”

“Are you sure? You didn’t sleep that much.”

“Yeah, I’m fine. I’ve had like, I don’t know, two or three cups already.”

“Of coffee?!”

“Well, yeah, what did you think?”

“I was hoping water.”

“I’m fine. Let’s just go! We’ve got the open road calling our names!”

“Yeah, yeah. I’m moving.”

Several minutes later they sat in the van, driving away while waving to their hosts.

“Call us when you’re in the area again! We’d love to get together with you guys after your trip!” said one of the women.

“Absolutely!” she replied giving a last wave.

They drove off and quickly found the highway and merged with the morning traffic. The sun was rising quickly, the sky was a clear bright blue that reminded the two of Madonna’s eye shadow from 1983. Corn and wheat fields meshed together as they breezed by at a comfortable speed limit. Occasional construction workers dotted the black pavement with their neon orange vests and white and yellow hard hats assumed colorful language. The two were silent, listening to Tom Waits as they made their way out of “Pure Michigan.” Finally she started singing. It started out soft, almost inaudible when in competition with the stereo volume. But it quickly got louder as the song reached the chorus. He joined in.

“Oh, oh, oh, anywhere, anywhere I lay my head!!” they yelled together. She rolled the windows down and he followed suit. It was a cliche thing to do, something seen in movies all the time, to extend their arms beyond the confines of their iconic road trip van and sing at the top of their lungs along with a man seemingly unknown to the majority of their generation. But they did it anyway. And they basked. He turned to her and watched her body relax with the comfort of a good song and summer air breezing through her fingers.

Him, her and chinese take-out

She was quickly getting frustrated with her paper crane attempt when he walked in from the kitchen.

“Hey,” he said digging into her pint of Ben and Jerry’s Boston Creme Pie ice cream.

“Hey,” she replied distracted.

“What are you working on?”

“Blasted origami,” she replied as she threw it down on the floor next to her. “I’ve been working on this stupid paper crane since this afternoon!”

“Here, let me see it.”

“No!”

“Why not?”

“Because the minute you pick up that piece of paper, I’m gonna be lookin’ at a paper crane in less than five minutes…I can’t handle that right now.”

“But I’ve never done origami before.”

“It doesn’t matter. That’s just the way you are. You’re so blasted good at everything, this is just another thing you’ll be able to add to your list of accomplishments. Gimme that,” she said when she noticed the pint of dessert in his hands. She grabbed it and began scooping the bits of pound cake, cream filling and chocolate bits into her mouth.

With her attention focused on the ice cream, he took the unnoticed time to grab the paper crane and instruction manual. Each held a strong concentration on their tasks, not taking notice of the other. She began to hum to herself and he, knowing the song, joined in with the harmony part. Still, neither took notice. By the time she had finished what was left of the dessert, he had completed the paper crane. They both looked up in time to take in each other’s accomplishments.

“Blast,” she said.

“Sorry,” he replied.

“Oh well. You can teach me how to make one on our road trip.”

“Speaking of…are we going to plan this thing tonight?”

“Yes. Give me a few minutes. I’ll order the take-out. You go grab the planner, map and calculator from my work room.”

“What do we need a calculator for?”

“To budget.”

“She says as she goes to order the take-out,” he mumbled as he walked away laughing to himself.

“It’s just necessary to have take-out when planning something like this,” she called from the kitchen. He could never understand how she was able to hear him when he mumbled. She was so hard of hearing with other people, but every time a word was muttered under his breath, she picked up on it. And sometimes she’d say something, and sometimes she wouldn’t. He recalled a wedding they had gone to a couple years ago. At the reception they were both speaking with the bride’s brother. The brother had made a comment that gave him good reason to mumble. As the brother walked away, all she could do was nod in agreement to what he had supposedly only said to himself.

He entered the work room, a tidy room but filled with piles of papers neatly organized. Somehow she was able to keep everything and make it look like she barely had anything at all. Well, at least in this room. The rest of the house was filled with mismatching furniture, piles and piles of books, CDs, movies, antique figurines and paintings. And yet it all looked perfect. He loved spending time in this house because he was able to be himself here. At work he had to be professional, at the gym he was Mr. Buff, at dinners with friends he was the guy who pleased everyone else. Here, he was just himself. Which he figured he didn’t really know what it meant to be himself because he didn’t know who that was. But it was something in this house. He just had to figure out what.

He quickly found the planner and the map and took a few extra minutes searching for the Ti calculator she had had since high school. He finally found it buried deep in one of the Ikea organizational boxes on the shelf.

Back in the living room, he found her holding the paper crane, turning it over and over while looking puzzled and frustrated.

“No, you cannot take it apart.”

“Awe, why not?”

“Because I worked hard on that.”

“Yeah, well you weren’t even supposed to make it.”

“I’m ending this particular conversation now and changing the subject. I have the map, planner and calculator, which I had to dig for and finally found it, but don’t worry, I made sure everything was put back as it was.”

“Good. The delivery guy should be here in about ten minutes.”

“Whadja order?”

“Sweet and sour with fried rice, the steamed dumplings with a side of white rice, and two egg roles.”

“Perfect. So should we wait for the food, or start planning?”

“Well I think if we grab ourselves a drink then we can start planning before the food gets here.”

“Alright. Two drinks it is. In the fridge?”

“Yep.”

He walked into the kitchen and grabbed two drinks from the fridge, opening them both with the help of the front tail of his shirt. He handed her one and took a long sip of his and sat down on the floor opposite her.

“So where are we headed first?”

“Well,” she said unfolding the map and studying it. “I thought we could start with Boston. We’ll grab some Boston Creme Pie, try and get into one of the baseball games, visit an Irish pub and try to get everyone in it to join in ‘Sweet Caroline’ or something, then head for New York City. Then Chicago for the concert. And we must make sure we get the deep dish pizza this time,” she added pointing her finger on the map to emphasize each word.

“Right. How long in each city?”

“Mmm, maybe three or four days in Boston, a week in New York, the weekend in Chicago, and then use time after that to take our time getting to the west coast.”

“Sounds good. We should try and get on Route 66 for a little bit. Maybe not the entire way, but part of it. We can see if there are any cool diners with good blueberry pie.”

“Lovely.”

There was a knock at the door. She went to answer and pay for the food. When she returned he had already grabbed the two pairs of chopsticks she had received from her younger brother when he had gone to Japan. They opened the little boxes with the red dragons printed on the sides and started eating, continuing to talk about their plans. There were a few arguments about which roads to take, whether they should really pay attention to what roads they were taking, and what cities to visit. Eventually they settled on the majority of the trip’s plans and decided they would talk about the rest once they had started their trip. They said good night to each other and he left for his one bed, one bath, tiny kitchen apartment in the city and she to her full size bed in her lavender bedroom.