Hour Eleven

We hit the construction. The highway narrows to one lane, and we’re stuck behind a tractor-trailer driving the precise roadwork speed limit of thirty-five mph. Lacey is the right driver for the situation; I’d be pounding the steering wheel, but she’s just amiably chatting with Ben until she turns half around and says, “Q, I really need to go to the bathroom, and we’re losing time behind this truck anyway.”

I just nod. I can’t blame her. I would have forced us to stop long ago had it been impossible for me to pee in a bottle. It was heroic of her to make it as long as she did.

She pulls into an all-night gas station, and I get out to stretch my rubbery legs. When Lacey comes racing back to the minivan, I’m sitting in the driver’s seat. I don’t even really know how I came to be sitting in the driver’s seat, why I end up there and not Lacey. She comes around to the front door, and she sees me there, and the window is open, and I say to her, “I can drive.” It’s my car, after all, and my mission. And she says, “Really, you’re sure?” and I say, “Yeah, yeah, I’m good to go,” and she just throws open the sliding door and lies down in the first row.

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