By Grant Baciocco

It’s 8:50PM.

It’s currently 91 degrees.

All I want to do is drive.

I want to get in the car, stop for gas to make sure the tank is full and then pull out of this town and drive.  Get on the freeway going any direction, it doesn’t matter.  Every window in the car is down and the music is turned up.  Not loud enough to go deaf, but loud.  I want to drive tonight and I want you next to me.  In the passenger seat, next to me, so that once we hit fifth gear  and cruise control is set can rest my hand on your leg.

The tires spin and the miles disappear behind us.  I don’t know how many, but as we pass over a hundred of them.  As the miles pass so do any of our troubles.  Soon it is all so far behind us both.  I look over and you have fallen asleep.  Your legs are up, out the window, feet near the passenger side mirror.  The warm air caressing your toes as we continue to drive.  My hand still on your leg.

I have no destination.  I don’t know where we are headed or how long it’s going to take to get there.  I just want to drive tonight.  Maybe to the desert.  Out towards Zzyzx.  To the big open country where there’s just miles and miles of flat land.  Where the warmth would continue to wrap around us, making us not need for heavier clothes.  Or maybe we drive towards the mountains.  Where, as we ascend, the air gets a little cooler.  Raising small bumps on your skin under my hand.

Wherever we go, we get there in the early hours of the morning.  Two.  Three.  I’m not sure.  I finally come to stop in a clearing.  A safe spot to pull over in the mountains or the desert.  I get out of the car, you’re still sleeping and I sit on the trunk.  I just look up.  The sky is filled with stars.  The one or two that we can see when in the city are replaces by thousands.  Millions.There’s no moon on this night, just countless stars.  Filling ever possible patch of sky that there is.  It’s one of those skies where it’s so clear and there’s no artificial light that can bee seen anywhere around us.  There before us is the entire Milky Way.  The entire universe.  Just us and it.

I hear the door open and I turn.  You are groggy, but you shuffle towards me and climb up on the trunk.  I wrap and arm around you and pull you close.  No word is said.  No word needs to be said.  It’s just you, me and the Milk Way.  What could you say?

We lean back against the back window and look up, transfixed.  Listening to each other breathing and we pick out new groupings of stars and planets and who knows what else before us.  Hours pass without us knowing and soon, to the east, the sky begins to lighten.  We lie there and watch as the sun ushers the Milky Way away for another night.  I look over and kiss you gently on the forehead.

I’m glad you went for a drive with me.

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