From the moment they left the gas station, he couldn’t stop admiring the long black hair decorating back of Vanda’s head. How she waved her hand when she talked, and she talked often. A girl like her won’t stop saying thanks to Matthew, for picking her up at the gas station. He liked her for her stories, even if part of them could be made up, but he enjoyed listening to her voice. Matthew never imagined that he would be driving with a girl who actually made him laugh. Gifted with enthusiasm, and good looks favoring Vanda who just finished high school. She couldn’t stop talking about leaving her parents because they wanted her to become something she didn’t want. That is why she was here now; a simple act of rebellion crossed their paths.
Hours passed by. Matthew enjoyed her company, but his paranoid side began to tingle. A small part of his mind kept telling him that something isn’t right, something is off. But he couldn’t figure out. In last months he had experienced weird shivers out of no reason. A paranoia spikes in his mind. While he drove his van, worry let go of its self. Calm sensation whirled in his body, and his paranoia of something off began to disappear. Miles long away from the gas station where they picked her up; Matthew finally asked her the question he didn’t get a clear answer before.
“Vanda, where’s your destination?”
“As I said, simple forward is enough and when you’ll get tired of me I’ll just hop off to continue on my own. The destination doesn’t matter to me, the journey is what matters.”
“I hear that a lot. Perhaps even much more than a lot.” Matthew sniffed.
“But it’s true. Like, look for example if you’d got to the end on the first day or on the last day. What’s the difference between those two?”
“Exactly. Imagine how much stuff you miss out if you’d just blast to the finish line.”
She laughed a little. Matthew agreed with her statement, but not entirely because he wanted to get to his destination faster rather than slower. His mind was straight, but his heart wiggled in an uncertain dilemma about what should be the right decision. Should he enjoy the ride or simply chase to the finish line and get the answers he’s looking for.
Mike and Caroline sat back, saying no word about them two. There was no comment from any of them. Matthew started to feel curious about them two. When he turned his head he wasn’t surprised. Both were sleeping, throwing each other body parts on each other. Like two people holding through a cold evening, in their small studio apartment. Matthew heard that the human body can warm each other if they sleep naked right next to each other. He always threw funny jokes about that fack and tried to encourage ladies to pursue the same idea. Everyone, expect him, didn’t think of it as a funny joke. Most women thought it as a pervert thing, while others said ‘okay’ to this, but only a few of them. Such things like this made him consider about phrases and comments he spat out. Sentences like that he left for moments when he was drunk enough to don’t remember. If he ever drank.
“And Matthew, what’s your story behind all this joyride?” she leaned her face closer to his, raising tension between them
“Emmm,” he paused from loss of words “I’m looking for someone.”
“Uuu. Sounds like a bounty hunter. Are you a bounty hunter Matthew?” she laid back into the seat and liked her lips while kept eye contact with Matthew.
“Me? Bounty hunter? Please. I barely have time to keep going after one person, can’t imagine having a list of them.”
“Okay, okay.” She pressed her knees against her chest and stared at Matthew, with head tilted on her knees.
They drove over the same asphalted road, with the same face he made every time when endless boredom was about to happen, but this time it was different. Vanda was there to make this trip more alive. They talked without a stop while drove against the sunset. From the clueless guy who had no idea how this trip will plan out, was now turned into a determined fella who had no desire of quitting it. Vanda was the one who inspired him to keep going, the one who entertained him and gave him hope that the thing he’s doing is someone else’s higher plan. She praised him, there was no denying in there, but she had a reason for it. He was the one driving the car she hitchhiked a few hours ago.
Vanda seemed like a loving and sweet mothers daughter. The girl who always followed the rules. If there was a fight she would evade it, at least her appearance told Matthew such things. She looked innocent, but there was more to it than just a surface could tell, and Matthew had an urge to begin scratching it.
“You told me that you ran from your family, right?”
“Yeah, what’s about them?”
“No, it’s just. You told e about the fact you ran from them, but you didn’t mention why you did what you did.” Silence. She fell quiet and he began feeling it’s his fault. Matthew was about to say a word, but she did it before him.
“Matthew. You seem like a good guy, but don’t you think it’s a little bit too soon to start poking into our personal life. I mean, don’t get me wrong, but we only know each other for few solid hours. There’s stuff I don’t even tell my friends whos I know for years. It’s just. I need to process some things.”
“Ya, I can totally understand that. It was stupid of me to start raising such questions.” He smiled, meaning sorry for breaking into her personal life; she smiled, hiding a sorrow behind her smile.
Vanda knew that she would have to tell him about the reason why she ran. She knew that he wouldn’t react to it in the most beautiful way. With her legs tucked in front of her chest, she fell into deep thinking and wondering. Struggling with though about deserving all this, or don’t deserve a tiny piece from all this. She didn’t know and that made both of them clueless. At least that they had in common.