Him, her and the summer solstice

“Hey! It’s almost 1:00, you’re gonna have to start looking for a spot to pull over!”

“And why am I doing this?” His voice was strained. It had been a rough night with his driving companion sick and unable to take the wheel so he could sleep. She was still sniffling and consuming the majority of the tissues, stuffing the used rags into the plastic bag they had positioned between their seats.

“Because! At 1:16, the sun will be at the highest spot it can reach in the sky. At least from earth’s perspective. And then at 1:17, it’s going to slowly go south, which means winter is on it’s way once again.”

“But that’s the fact of life. That happens every year and you’ve never made a big deal about it before.”

“I know, but it just hit me this year that this is the point when winter is on the move.”

“Isn’t that a line from the Chronicles of Narnia?”

“I hate winter. Sure it makes me appreciate summer, but I still hate it. Yes, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe I believe. Anyway, we need to at least pull over for a minute and take the time to revel in the peak of summer!”

“Alright. I’ll pull over…if…you take the wheel when we get back on the road.”

“Deal.”

The two drove along the seemingly abandoned highway until they found a good spot to pull over. But really any spot would have been fine. She jumped out of the car like a five year old running toward the ice cream stand in the park. He pulled himself away from the steering while and driver’s seat and gave a loud yawn to the open sky, stretching until he almost got a charlie horse in his left leg. He quickly retracted his stretch and walked over.

“Ok, 1:15. One more minute! You know, we should probably grab the sunglas – ”

Before she could finish her sentence, he held out her pair of sunglasses. She smiled sheepishly and took them. They took small, short glances toward the sun, smiling, sweating, swatting away the bugs hungry for their UV burnt flesh. She looked at her watch.

“1:16! Happy summer solstice!”

“Happy summer solstice,” he mumbled. But he couldn’t keep himself from smiling. He looked over to her and found her smiling back. Then her face immediately turned. She found and looked around, worried. She quickly turned her back and ran a few feet away. He heard the heaving and liquid hitting the dry ground as he walked around the van and slowly climbed back into the driver’s seat with a heavy sigh.

Photograph by Georgi Licovski, European Pressphoto Agency

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