I'm so sorry, I havn't updated in months, suddenly remember this existed, thought I'd finish it, hoep your still with me. The song they're talking about it hold on by tom waits. Required listening for anyone with a soul, as is the movie apocalypse now.
The car sped onwards… a fine mist hung over the flattened fields, and though the windows were open, the rushing air made almost no sound. Laila slept on in the back seat. Asher handed me the joint and I inhaled the sweet tasting smoke into my lungs. The only car on the road, we drove, and I let the fingers of one hand drift lazily outta the window. The air outside smelled vaguely of cut grass. Asher reached over with one hand and switched the music on, and it was a bittersweet song I thought I'd heard ages ago. A slight breeze blew into the car and spun the Macarena with the ivory beads dangling from the mirror. The sky was blank page of milted pearl grey with one shaft of pink streaking the mist where the sun was going to rise. The car sped onwards…
The car sped onwards… No sight of the sun, we kept on driving. Asher and me sang alone raucously to the music on the speakers, Laila lay on her stomach with her head outta the window and smoked and was so quiet that we forgot she was there. We accelerated, and as we got through to later in the day the wind picked up, air rushing in and outta the car through every single window that could be opened.
It was nearly dark again when we drove right back in to the town that I'd called home all my life. We must have made a pretty picture; Laila had tied one of Asher's red tee shirts on to a stick and our impromptu flag waved outta the window wobbling to the rhythm of Laila's shrieks of laughter (she'd perked up around lunchtime.)
There was the familiar streets again- and all of a sudden I was scared.
'Asher' I whispered.
'I can't go home to my mom. I… can't stand it, I think. Can I crash at yours, and have a shower, and get the cigarette smell outta my hair? Just for like one night?
'Dya think your mum's gonna fuck you up then?'
'Christ yeah. She'll go bananas. I haven't even texted her for the last week I think. It's all a bit of a blur. She's probably gone and committed suicide or something.'
'But, y'know, it should be okay. I'd just rather go home wearing clean clothes and not smelling like an ashtray… God it's weird seeing these streets again.'
'What're they gonna say about us at school?' said Laila from the back.
'Christ, noone is gonna understand. They'll laugh their fucking arses off.'
'I think vacations started actually. Anyway, we tell'em we ran away to California. They'll shit their pants with jealousy. I bet we'll start a new trend.'
Houses flashed past, street after familiar street.
There went past the turning for my house. I stared down it, picturing my mom sitting there on her own.
'No way.' Scoffed Laila. 'They're way too pussy to do anything any more rebellious than drink beer at a party.'
'I dunno. Running away could be the new black.'
'You could put that on a tee shirt, y'know.'
I stared out of the window as my two best friends talked amiably. Without really looking away from the streets that wavered past, as unreal as heat-haze I reached for the ipod that had stopped playing, and pressed random buttons till a song came up, inadvertently perfect for the place and time. Laila sat up as if electrified.
'Shit I FUCKING love this song! Hey guy, guys. Asher! Play this song at my fucking funeral, 'kay? You guys promise?'
'Why am I agreeing to so many funeral themed requests recently?'
'Oh yeah, I need to tell you about how you need to make my funeral. Mary can decide hers later.'
'Play this one at mine though?'
'Charcoal eyes and Monroe hips?' Asher sang along. 'This how you see yourself darling'?
Laila wasn't even listening. Her eyes were shut. She swayed, and sang.
'You gotta hold on hold on, oh you gotta hold on. Take my hand, standin' right here you gotta- What?'
'We're here. This is where we're dropping you right?'
'Can't I come to yours as well? Or will I be a third wheel to the lovebirds?'
I cracked up. I don't know why, funnier things have been said, but Laila's mocking tone suddenly igniting every spark of confusion and messed up worry and fun, and I lay curled up in the car seat giggling as Laila slammed her car door, laughing herself at my hysteria, and ran up the steps to her house. At the door she stopped, stuck a finger up at us, then laughed again and was gone.
Asher and me stopped in the car for a bit.
'What are your parents gonna say to you just running away like that?' I asked.
'Er, well.' Asher looked awkward. 'My Mom'll be pissed off, sure. But I already talked to her before I left. And my Dad spends so much time in his office in the city I doubt he's even noticed I was gone.'
'Yeah. Dick.' Asher didn't look like it bothered him much. 'Come on then.'
'Okay.' I put my bare feet up against the front window, and wriggled my toes against the cold glass. 'Are we going to think we made a mistake coming back here?'
'Well if we do, we can just turn around and leave again.'
I turned around, staring behind us through the miles onto the beach where Penny and Charlotte and Carey and Old William still sat and danced through the sparkling dirty sandy California night, and I made a low bow, or at least the best I could in that awkward position.
'Goodbye.' I said solemnly. 'Goodbye, hellish holy hopes of differentiating ourselves from the sad mix of poetry and cars on the highway going further and further and further chasing each other across the huge divide. And stuff. Yeah. And stuff.'
'Hears to that.' He raised an imaginary glass. 'And stuff.'
Then he pressed the accelerator, not to hard, but still hard enough to give me a lump in my throat like I got everytime we started moving across this vast splodge of land I'd recently found out was America (with all it's trial and tribulations, it's darknesses and fires and snotty border guys and annoying Mcdonalds kids of the have a nice day breed, all doused in Cocacola and set alight.)
'Drive drive drive!' I yelled, laughing, and Asher drove through the empty streets until we reached his house, where only one light was on in an upstairs window.
'That's the piano room.' Pointed Asher at the light. 'My Mum sits up there when she's feeling shitty, and plays piano for hours. Quiet now, I wanna surprise her.'
He parked the car in the drive silently as he could, and then unlocked the door and we tiptoed upstairs. Asher's house was a little thinner and taller than most houses in the neighborhood, and in Asher's room, on the top floor, a window led out onto the roof where me, Laila and Asher had sat and talked a million times. The steps had a strip of dull brownish carpet running up the middle, and this we tiptoed up.
Asher flung open the door of the piano room, from which we could hear the sounds of Chopin's allegro coming, punctuated by the occasional 'shit' when a note was missed. The figure behind the piano whirled around with a shriek, and then laughed, placing her hand over her chest and declaring that, oh, he had scared her. Asher's mother was a small dark woman, with the exact same marine eyes as her son, and she embraced him tenderly, fussing over his slight sunburn and how thin he was, and he didn't look like he'd been getting any sleep at all, before hugging me as well.
'Mary, darling. How are you? Oh, your mothers been going crazy trying to find out where you were. She's a lovely woman, you should be ashamed of yourself dear. Does she know you're home yet?'
'No, I was wondering if I could sleep here and go home in the morning, you know, just too…'
'But of course you can love. I was just thinking though, it's shame, she was just here, only a few hours ago.'
'My mom was here?'
'Oh yes, we've become quite good friends. But Mary darling, you look awful. Go run yourself a hot bath and wash your hair. I'll go fix you some food.'
There was a lump in my throat. It was wrong to be here. In a perfect world we would never have run out of anything to do, and the moment we turned our backs on them our families would have disappeared and everything would be shiny at night and baked by day, and those beautiful golden motes of dust would keep on tumbleing through the abyss of a car interior and noone would ever miss us, and now we were going to have to confront the hurt we'd brought to people and it wasn't fair because all we'd been doing was trying to have fun, why did parents have to love us this much?
Asher's mom made us pasta in a huge bowl and we sat cross legged on the couch with the bowl in front of us, eating with our fingers and watching Apocalypse Now. When I went to shower, all I could see when I closed my eyes was Kurtz, and how his dead bald head looked there on that floor so far away from here. And all I could hear buzzing in my ears was - The man is clear in his mind, but his soul is mad. So it probably wasn't a could film choice because now my head was burning.
I went into Asher's room he was sitting by his window smoking out of it, and when I sat next to him he kissed me and gave me a cigarette, and after they were done we went to bed and had sex again, and then we fell asleep.
When I woke up Asher was still asleep, and I rested my head on his chest to look out his window, and I squinted at the sun, trying to hold my eyes open as long as possible against the glare. Asher groaned and opened his eyes, and I poked him and said 'You know, the stars are still up there, you just can't see them because the skies get in the way. And that's good, and right, but when the clouds get in the way of the sky, then we're in trouble' and he kissed me and said 'I know babe.'
I stood up, pulling a sheet over my shoulders, and stood naked by the window leaning outside into the fresh clean air, and couldn't believe anything could look as healthy and awful as the cheerful streets below. I squeezed my eyes tight shut, and thought of the desert we'd driven through briefly on the way to California, and how it was so beautiful in it's total lack of health and usefulness, and when I opened them again Asher's arm was round my waist.
'I'm gonna have to go home.' I whispered.
'Why? Why do they have to love us?'
'I don't know.'
'And why do we have to love them?'
'I don't know.'
'I still love her. Why? It's not fair! It's would be so much easier if I never had to.'
'But you do.'
'Let's get dressed and eat waffles.'