I supposed this story could have any million of titles. No one seems just right though. If you think of a good one please tell me because I am so inside my own head on this one, I can’t think straight. I hope you enjoy, “Untitled.” (I know I’ve used the picture below before, but it’s so good.
She hit the brakes and lurched in her seat. The seatbelt caught and grabbed her by the hips and chest and screamed at her to freeze where she was.
“What the hell?” he yelled. Freeing himself from the clutch of the seat belt, he thrust open the car door and marched to the front of the car where he expected to find a giant crater in the bumper. Or a busted headlight. At least a dent in the hood. But there was nothing.
He shot his gaze from the front of the car to the driver seat where she sat white-faced and stiff. The initial fear of having killed an animal had passed and was now usurped by his steely glare shooting fault into her. She had hit the breaks on HIS car, THAT hard, and for NOTHING? She could already hear the inevitable tirade of guilt he would begin heaping on her in three, two, one…
“Don’t you know how to drive?” he began, every joint in his hands bent and raging. “What were you thinking? Did you even see anything? Were you paying attention?”
He continued and she tried to piece together what she had seen. The radio was on, a dog bolted across the street, she remembered thinking it looked like Lassie, and then she had slammed on the brakes. Yes, that was it, she had tried to save Lassie. But where was the dog now?
Getting out of the car, she saw nothing on the grey pavement. Nothing she had ever tried to save. By now he was sitting on the hood of the car with his back to her. She walked over and sat next to him.
They sat on the car in the middle of the road. She knew he hadn’t meant what he had said to her, his silence proved it. He would never apologize, but he would never talk about this again to her. And he would probably let her drive his car again. She had thought it would be so romantic, driving his car for him, navigating for him, caring for him.
“There was a dog,” she finally said looking down at her hands. “I tried to not hit the dog.”
“I never saw a dog,” he said.
A year before she would have argued with him over this point. When the arguing was playful, positively flirtatious. Now it was a blazening reminder of her own naivety and the effort she had wasted, was still wasting. She felt the blood racing in her temples.
He leaned into her side and put his arm around her shoulder. A neighbor came out of his house to check his mail and she saw him look at the two of them sitting ontop of the car, his arm around her and she felt right again. What a sight they must have been, she thought. She had always done the spectator sport portion of relationships well.
“Let’s get going,” he said, removing his arm. “I’ll drive.”
Crashing back to the here and the now, she left the imaginary eye of the old man getting his mail. Back to being fine, and OK, but not really fine at all.
She sank back into the passenger seat as he started the car and they took off.