Unexpected Happiness

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
A summary would ruin this story, please just read and enjoy :)

Submitted: April 18, 2016

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Submitted: April 18, 2016

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The warm, southern air whipped throughout the vehicle, striking my face as I drove on, down the freeway. The roads were clear of traffic, on this seemingly slow Sunday afternoon. Silence engulfed my car, smothering me in my own thoughts.

“Ping, ping, ping” pierced through the painful silence as the dull glow flickered on at the bottom of the gas meter.

“FUCK THIS STUPID CAR, I just filled this fucker up.”

Only about seven miles till the next exit, according to the sign I had just zoomed by, my tunnel vision increasing more and more, as the stress piled on. I just wanted this drive to be over with, only eight-hundred miles roughly to home, where I could continue to live out the rest of my shitty life, and my even shittier job. I finally approached the nearest exit; Hopewell, Tennessee, with a gas station only a short ten miles away.

“GOD DAMN IT, just my fucking luck”

After a horrible, painfully long drive through chewed up dirt roads, dodging craters as if I were on the Moon, I reached the small rickety gas station. The rusted sign and dusty, cracked windows gave off a cold abandoned vibe. As I pulled up to the pump, a loud bell rang, as I must have rolled over a clerk calling device, because a short older gentleman in a raggedy old overalls and a dusty old trucker hat that read; “Trucks and Butts” across the front, ran up to my car window.

“Diesel or unleaded, son?” asked the attendant in an old southern accent.

“Unleaded, and fill her up, please.” I replied

Waiting here seemed endless, as I watched the numbers tick one after the other, as the attendant filled my tank. I turned forward again staring into the distance, I got lost in the quiet. A soft rat, tat, tat, broke through the silence I was engulfed in, as the attendant tapped on my window again.

“That’ll be fifty-two, fifty please” came the attendant in a somewhat stern manor.

I handed him sixty dollars and told him to keep the change, as I sped off like I was in some sort of hurry. Stopping had been a very bad idea, even though I needed to, I really wish I hadn’t, and now all I was doing was thinking and clouding my mind. I started to zone out really hard, my tunnel vision was back and I really shouldn’t be driving, but I continued anyway. It was getting later in the day, and it was starting to get dark around me, next thing I knew I was off of the road driving half on the road and halfway on the grass, then there she was, she came out of nowhere. I slammed onto my brakes, I skidded and swerved right around her, barely missing her bag by a hair. I opened my door and stepped my shaking legs out of the car, slowly pulling myself out of the car, into the massive pluming cloud of dust that I just created.

“I am so sorry, I didn’t see you there at all.” I shouted, waiting for the dust to settle before I approached her

“He, he, he, your fine Hun” came a calming voice from behind the cloud. 

A strong wind blew through, and swept the cloud away, revealing the young girl, somewhere in her mid-twenties, standing at the side of the road. She stood there in ripped jeans, with a faded red Budweiser shirt, in tattered old Converse high-tops. Her face was kind, with a welcoming smile, and blue eyes that were deeper than our world’s oceans, few freckles scattered across her face, adding even more depth to her beauty, her dirty blonde hair flowed flawlessly around her face framing it like a picture. She had a big purple and orange backpack on her back, bulging with what seemed like her life was held inside of it, she was leaned against another bag, matching her pack in color, but much smaller in size. 

“So what are you doing standing on the side of the road?” I asked as I started approaching her.

“What are you doing driving on the side of the road?” She quickly responded with a chuckle in her voice.

I was speechless, she caught me off guard, and I wasn’t expecting such a snappy response.

“He, he, he, if you really must know, I’m trying to get out to Seattle. Care to assist me?” she continued in her ever so calming voice.

I hesitated for a moment, thinking back to all the horrors I had heard about picking up hitchhikers, then thinking how terrible the weekend was that I had just endured, and the thought of what could happen to me, was somewhat accepted. I decided why not, and told her to throw her bags in the back. As she closed her door and buckled in her seatbelt, I continued on, turning my car back into the correct direction and towards the freeway.

“I can take you as far as Michigan, and then I am sorry, but you are on your own the rest of the way.” I told the stranger, whom I had just picked up.

“That’s fine dear, that’s farther than anyone else has taken me so far.” Replied the soft voice in my passenger seat.

We drove on silently for the next several miles, as we made our way onto the freeway. I looked over at the passenger I had just welcomed into my car; she was looking out into the distance, the last few rays of sun softly lighting up her face, as she just smiled at the nothingness in front of us. I continued to think, but this time not of me and my troubles, but of her; how could she look this happy, what is she doing so right in her life, she doesn’t have a car and she is obviously running away from something, so what could she be smiling about so strongly. I really needed to know.

“I’m Barry, by the way.” I spouted, breaking the silence.

“So you do speak.” She quickly replied; “Well since were gonna share names, I’m Sandy.”

“Ha-ha” I chuckled softly; “Yeah I do speak, it just hasn’t been my weekend.”

“Well everyone has their days, some just suck more than others.” Sandy replied.

I faced forward again, conducting another silence, surrounding the car with it, as I continued to drive on. I was cutting myself out of the world it seemed, turning into an introvert. Sandy, was making it loud and clear that she obviously was not like me, completely the opposite, she was an extrovert and proud of it. She had kicked off her shoes, and stretched her legs out of the open window next to her, without asking cranked on the radio, fumbling through stations like a drunk down the alley. She danced and sang, sitting next to me having the time of her life in a strangers car who had just almost ran her over, then picked her up.

This brought me back into the trance of deep thought, as I kept wondering and trying to figure this girl out. As I would glance over at her, every time she would have a different expression of happiness painted upon her face, I just couldn’t figure out her happiness, and where it was coming from, or what was fueling it.

There was no such thing as silence for me anymore, even without a single word said between the two of us, singing and happiness was enough noise for the both of us. I noticed throughout the drive, she was looking at me, studying me, as if she were trying to figure me out. She must have been able to see the pain in my eyes, because she broke the silence barrier that I tried to put up between us once again.

“So where ya coming from? You seem like your running away from something.” asked Sandy

 I paused for a second, caught off guard again. I inhaled a deep breath, then slowly exhaled. I then slowly looked over, locking eyes with her, I got lost for a moment, her eyes were so trusting, and her small smile was ever so welcoming. I took another moment and turned my head slowly back facing forward.

“I’m coming from Florida, me and my wife, were celebrating our third anniversary.” I replied.

“Then why are you driving home with a total stranger?” came Sandy, in a sassy tone.

I proceeded to tell her, how my wife and I were visiting the Key West for our anniversary. We had both driven up together, and were very excited to go visit Florida, have some fun at the bars, relax on the beaches and see some shows. On our second night there I wanted to go see a comedy show at a bar that night, and when it came time to leave, she wasn’t feeling too well. She told me to go on by myself and she would be waiting for me when I got back.

“You’re not about to say what I think you are, are you?” Sandy spouted really quickly.

I slowly put my hand up, motioning for her to wait until I was done. I continued to tell her how, I left the comedy show halfway through, because I felt bad for leaving her alone, sick, in the room, and how as I walked into the door of the hotel room, I heard the shower running. I went to the bathroom to tell my wife that I came home early, when I heard a scream come from behind the door. I busted in, to find my wife being pummeled from behind, covered in suds, with the concierge from the front desk. I told her how I just got my bags and left.

“That BITCH, wow that’s some nerve, I’m so sorry that you had to deal with that.” Sandy replied in a soft gentle voice.

“Thank you, yeah, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the whole situation.” I responded quietly.

The silence started again, we both just stared out into the darkness, as we drove on. I could tell she was not expecting the story that I had just told her, and I couldn’t tell if she actually felt bad for me or thought I was just a loser. So I just kept with my silence, as she started singing with another song on the radio. I sat back and listened as her soothing voice filled the car, singing with the Beatles song that came on. As the song finished up, she broke the silence again, she was really good at it, she was able to pick the perfect moment in the silence to speak up.

“So I know you don’t know me, but from what I have heard, I think you need to run away. Come to Seattle with me, and start completely over.” Offered Sandy in a very serious voice.

I sat there for a long moment, trying to compute what had just been asked of me. I tried to think of all the reasons to stay, and couldn’t find a single reason, I had a terrible accounting job that I hated, I had a failed marriage with a woman I thought had been the love of my life, and a shitty rental house that was falling apart faster than my marriage did. The components were all there, telling me to run, run far away. I still was unsure though, I had some friends back there, not many, but they were still friends to say the least, all of my other friends were acquired because they were friends of the wife, and I wasn’t going to be talking to them anymore.

“You know what, fuck it. I’ve got nothing else left to lose.” I hastily responded.

“Oh my God? Are you serious? Awesome, yeah okay, I promise you won’t regret this.” Sandy eagerly replied.

Sandy then quickly turned up the volume knob on my radio, and starting dancing and singing louder and happier than before. She had the biggest smile painted across her face, and I could tell it was going to be there for a long while. As we continued our voyage, I couldn’t stop looking over at her, studying her smile, I was starting to figure her out I think. Even though she seemed to have no place in the world, she had the best place, she was so happy, as I was watching her dance I caught myself starting to smile, and she noticed it immediately, greeting it back with an even bigger one.

“I never thought I was gonna see you smiling, this car ride, you have a really nice smile, you should think about keeping It.” She said to me giggling.

“Thank you, I didn’t think I was going to see me smiling either.” I responded still smiling.

The rest of the drive was spent talking, and laughing between the two of us. As we got to know one another, the laughing and smiling kept growing. I was starting to realize the answers to some of the questions I had when I first picked her up, I came to the conclusion that if I wanted to be as happy as this girl was, I just needed to be around her. This girl was pure joy, and excitement and she definitely knew how to share it. In a mere eight hours, I had become best friends with this girl, I had fallen in love all over again, and the key to my happiness had just been found on the side of the road in the small town of Hopewell, Tennessee.


© Copyright 2017 Tom Furchi. All rights reserved.

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