Journey for Answers – Chapter 23 “Rising Hope”

“Matthew! Matthew!” he could feel the trembling, the shaking of his body. “Matty wake up, we have to go, now. It’s getting dark and I don’t like the place she parked us. Better yet, where is she?” Caroline’s voice was full of worry.

“Yeah man, It’s super weird how she disappeared in that gas station. It is twenty minutes already.”

Matthew finished flickering his eyes. Looked back at both of them and tried to grasp what they were saying. Caroline an Mike looked worried. Their faces were filled with uncertainty, anxiety and the whole expression on Caroline’s face felt like a warning. The warning which Matthew tried to understand, but couldn’t. He was still feeling sleepy after a dream or a nightmare; he was trying to figure out what exactly it was and why.

The vague shape of a man mingled in front of a gas station. The strange man, who was glancing over him, smoking a self-rolled cigarette. His stare refreshed everytime he exhaled a smoke. Matthew vaguely remembered a moment in his dream, about a man who knocked Matthew unconscious. It didn’t take long enough for Matthew to realize – he has to get out of there. Luckily keys were still in the van’s ignition, but there was no sign of Vanda. Matthews’ eye hovered over the gas station, he analyzed everything he could see. No sign of Vanda in that direction either, only the strange man, who kept staring to Matthew van, plotting something in his mind. Matthew glanced over his shoulder and nodded to both of them. Caroline and Mike did the same. Quickly Matthew jumped from passengers seat to drivers and turned the key into the ignition.

The car rattled for a while, which caught strangers attention and his feet began moving towards the van with a quick pace. Mike called Matthew from the back while adjusting himself in the passenger seat.

“Matthew, I think you should go. The faster the better.” He paused for a brief moment “I mean now Matthew, now’s the time to go.”

Matthew nodded and shifted into the first gear. Vans revving engine could be heard in the whole gas station and beyond. They began moving from a gas station with the loud sound of an old engine and black smoke pouring out of it. It was devilish sight before scratching tire sound could be heard after the smoke coming out. As soon as the van began driving, Matthew felt liberated, so does the Mike and Caroline. Caroline smiled as they started moving. Matthew gave a last glance into the mirror, just to see how strange figure tried to catch up with them while waving hands. Strangers face couldn’t be seen, but that didn’t bother Matthew. He felt happy and curious once again. He tried to figure out what the dream meant. ‘Was it related to this moment at the gas station?’ he thought to himself.

That night they drove in silence. Everyone was awake and couldn’t fell asleep. Caroline was deep in her mind and Mike kept staring through the window. In the middle of the silence, they realized that they will be together forever because without speaking a word they understood each other. They have found a connection in space where silence hovered. Silence like this hasn’t occurred between them and they all found appreciation in it. Caroline’s and Mike’s eyes met each other, and right after that shifted with Matthews. A smile rose on all their faces after looking into each other eyes. The majestic moment in the night left to feel at ease and Matthews hope for finding the answers raised. He knew he’s on the right path. The path for which he was certain.

Time passed midnight and highway on which they drove haven’t felt this empty. The empty space in front of him and both friends beside him was all he needed. Somehow he completely forgot about the Vanda. He felt slight pity for leaving her, but then the other feeling kicked in. The feeling of not knowing where she was. At the time he woke up in that gas station, a sign of her being with him was gone and he thought to himself ‘was she even here with us?’. But she was, she was the one who drove them to that station and left. Why she left he didn’t know, and part of him didn’t even wanted to know. Part of him wanted to move forward, forward to the next city, next country, to the next continent if that’s what it takes to find the answer he’s looking for. His mind settled on that idea and he kept moving, keeping the wheel straight.

Countless hours passed. None of them spoke a word, until now, when Caroline was about to break the silence.

“Mates, look!” she pointed to the right side, out through the window “can’t believe we drove the whole night. The sunrise is majestic.”

“Woow.”

Mikes faces widened and he couldn’t stop staring into the rising sun.

“It means something, tight Matthew?”

Caroline gently poked Matthew with her finger, he giggled and gave her an answer

“I suppose. People can find meaning in a lot of things if they want to, guess this sunrise could be hope. Hope which came after the dark night of uncertain road. And you know what’s the weirdest part? I can’t remember the road we drove here. It’s like. We just weren’t there, or we skipped it through with enormous speed.”

“It felt the same for me” mike added

“It’s because it felt good and right. Every time when something good happens, it tends to slip by because we don’t pay attention to it.”

“Yeah, totally like that.”

Matthew finished and raised an idea to steer off the highway, to check out the sunrise which was filling their hearts. He took the next exit from the highway, into the wild country road. Field of grain decorated both sides of the road and the fresh smell of cold air filled their nostrils. Matthew wanted to ask Mike to close the window, but the smell of fresh morning was comprehending the chill of the wind. Matthew didn’t wanted to go far off the highway. His desire was to see the sunrise and then figure out the next course for which they gonna go. Taking in mind that Mike was promising to kick Matthew in the balls if they don’t make it to the Amsterdam, or pass it without stopping.

Matthew turned off the engine and let the van stop at its own pace, steady in between grain fields. On dirt road between grain fields now stood green WV bus, ‘tin can’ as Matthew and Mike like to call it. As soon as they stopped, Caroline stormed out of the van and began staring into the shiny orange ball, which was coming up from the other side of a grain field. Mike with Matthew followed her, but they weren’t so enthusiastic about it. They slowly got out and Mike began rolling a joint. Matthew and Mike landed their asses on the side opening of a van, while Caroline was about to enter the grain field. She took off her shirt and anything else that was on the top part of her body. She was topless now. Both, Matthew and Mike kept staring how topless Caroline ran into the field filled with grains. She was their reminder of freedom and hope. The morning couldn’t get better. She was running wild while both friends sat on the side opening of a van, witnessing the sigh. They both looked at each other and decided to join her, after smoking the joint. Into to the warm hugs of rising sun, into the ticklish grain field.


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