J drove and drove and drove. It was obvious something was bothering her. I thought about it for a quick minute, then turned my attention to Instagram account. When she comes out of her funk, I’m going to ask her to join me in a selfie. It will be our first photo together. We were now out of city limits traveling away from the ocean and heading east toward the mountains. Vegas was only five hours away.
Since J was talking, I didn’t some self reflection. The first conclusion I came to was that I don’t need a conscience, I’m doing fine on my own. Any advice my conscience might give me would have been the stuff you hear on Oprah or some other show women mostly watch. My second conclusion is that my conscience is a female who masks her voice to sound like a male. Next time he or she talks to me I have to ask about the technology he or she is using. My conscience has an unfair advantage being able to use voice altering technology humans haven’t yet developed.
We were ten miles out of the city when J finally spoke, “I’m hungry. Because of your stupidity, I missed Harvey’s food. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to show my face in there again.”
I had no clue what J was talking about. Surely she was thinking of the plus size woman and her bibbed overall friend at the table next to us. I said, “What did I do? I asked you to marry me. I told you how deep my commitment was to you. I talked about honeymoon sex. Help me if I missed something?” I realized we were having our first argument. I read in a men’s magazine where makeup sex is the best kind of sex. I started looking for motel signs.
For an instant, J drove no handed. It was as if an invisible hand guided the car along the highway. She thrust both arms over her head and started banging on car roof with her fists. “Ouch,” she said.”
“Are you okay? Is your blood sugar low? Are you suffering from being enclosed in a cramp space?” I learned all these questions by watching ads for drug prescriptions on television.
I felt better when I saw J’s hands return to the steering wheel. She was breathing as if she were in the last stages of an anaerobic workout. I said, “Can I hold your wrist and take your pulse? I want to make sure you don’t have a stroke.”
I think J’s having arm spasms, both fists hit the car roof again. Again, she said, “Ouch, damn that hurt.”
J signaled to take the next exit two miles ahead. I noticed there were several low end motel chains located at the exit and a couple of fast food restaurants. I was putting my money on the low end motel chains. “Good decision,” I said.
“What?” snapped J.
“To pull off early at a low end motel so can create memories of our first sexual experience with each other,” I said nonchalantly.
“If I wasn’t driving and if both of my fists were not sore from banging on the car roof I would carry through on my threat to rip off your ears when you asked me to have sex with you.”
“Whoa. Wait a minute. Who’s not listening? I didn’t ask to have sex. I only filled in the blanks to the conversation as to why you chose this exit instead of heading non stop to Vegas.”
“Dear Lord. If I kill him and leave his body in the desert, will it be a sin? I will be doing a favor for humankind. Taking care of him is almost too much of a burden to carry.”
“What did God say?” I asked. I had a vested interest in the answer.
All I got was a cold glassy stare. I felt the car pull on to the exit ramp. When we reached the end of the exist ramp, J stopped at a red light. To the right there was a Fairfield motel and a Super 8 motel. A truck stop sat between them with a gas station and restaurant. Mother always said, never eat where truck drivers eat, the food is terrible and the drivers have body odor. I was pleased when J gave her left turn signal. I stretched my neck and saw a Holiday Inn and a Comfort Inn. Where was the Four Seasons? Doesn’t every town have at least one five star resort and restaurant?
When the light changed J turned left and stayed in the left hand lane. It was the same side as the Holiday Inn. Hope springs eternal or something like that. She went passed it and pulled into Buddy’s Burgers. She drove into the drive through lane and stopped at a large metal sign with a complete menu and a speaker in the middle. This is a new experience for me. Mother and Father will want to know about it, it saves on tipping.
J turned toward me and said, “You want anything?”
I wanted to prove I wasn’t a snob. I could eat lower class food. I said, “I’ll have albacore tuna on lightly toasted rye bread, put the tomato on the side. I’ll also have a side dish of hummus and freshly baked flatbread. “
A voice came out of the menu, “Can I help you?”
“I’ll have two double cheeseburgers, two orders of fries, and two large diet Cokes.”
J must be hungry. I didn’t hear her order for me. I said, “Can I order now?”
“I ordered for you. Give me ten dollars.”
Oh my fragile, love sick heart, beat on. She loves you I thought. She asked me for money to pay for a meal. I pulled out my wallet. I carry nothing lower than a twenty. I wanted to show my generosity. I said, “Tell her to keep the change.”
J pulled up to the window where you paid for your food, then received it. “They don’t do tips at the drive through,” said J reaching for the food and the change.” She turned toward me, “You want extra ketchup for your fries?”
“What are fries?”
“Extra ketchup, please,” J said to the girl at the register.
J handed me the bag of food. I’ll admit it smelled different than anything I’ve ever eaten in my life. She said, “There’s a park across the street, we can eat and talk over there.”
I said, “This is a date. You can’t deny it. I paid for the food. We’re eating in a park. It’s our first date.”
“Is not a date.”
We started laughing. I don’t remember the last time I laughed. It felt good.