Driving Uphill

Gail sat in the passenger seat, watching Avery not watch the road. His dark brown curls were pushed back against the wind blowing in from the open windows, the kind of windows that you crank down with that strange lever that Gail had never learned the name of. This car was older than Gail was, probably older than Avery too, then again, how old is Avery? 

Avery was scrolling through his phone, which he balanced on his knee, glancing down every so often to check the route.

“I can tell you the route if you want.” Gail offered, looking at the phone as it shifted in his palm. He held it loosely, almost tossing it up with the heel of his palm every so often to have better control over the screen. 

“I have GPS.” Was all he replied with.

And I have the will to live, so get your eyes off the damn screen. 

Gail said nothing, but Avery laughed, as if her worries were written on her face. Avery always laughs easily, and runs his hand through his hair if it was something that had caught him off guard that shocked a laugh out of him. Gail watched the red thread bracelet shift over his wrist as his fingers knotted in his curls, the other hand still holding his phone — no hands on the wheel — and held her breath. 

“I’ll get you there in one piece, Abigail. I promise.” He slapped the wheel straight and continued speeding down the road in dizzying spirals as they ascended the hill. Thin hillside air rushed in from without, smelling cleaner than anything had the right to in this day and age. 

Avery has yet to wreck the car, whatever damages ol’ Bailey had faced were inflicted by the previous owner, not Avery. That they were left unresolved was what really concerned Gail. 

“You’re like a well, Aberdeen.”

“Care to explain?” He requested. 

“The kind that a child looks down, just to see what’s on the other side, without realizing they might fall in.”

“And you?” a coy smile worked his lip, “The child?”

“I’m the rope they’d use to bring back the body.”

He frowned. 

“Too depressing?”

“Lil’ bit.”

“Then do tell, what would you prefer that I be?”

He thought about it,“One of those metal nets they put on old wells to keep dumb kids alive.”

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