None of this was like he imagined. The long stretching highways without a stop and three lines going into one direction, with the third one being the fastest one. Cars passing by one after the other, while some of them flew past rather than driving. Matthew named them as pilots who just fly really close to the ground. Mornings sun finally was above the road, ending the constant shinning into the Matthews’ face and began warming up the van. The heat was rising up in the air between Matthew and Mike, turning van slowly into a greenhouse. Without thinking, Matthew knew that he has to roll down both windows of a van and let the fresh air blow into the back of it. Mike, who sat right next to Matthew, was giving his friend a cold shoulder for a decision to open both windows, especially on his side. Mike slowly started turning grumpy, and casually began swearing words in their native language under his nose. For a moment Matthew thought of giving him a satisfaction and let him roll back the window, resulting in safari right next to him. As soon Matthew wanted to speak out the words which will lead Mike into the satisfaction of its own ego, Caroline’s head appeared between them.
“Look, mates, a stop for a small pause. What you say, Matthew?”
“I don’t know. We were at the stop a few hours ago, I think we can hold a few hundred kilometers. Right, Mike?”
Mike turned his head towards Matthew, and nothing besides sharing a sarcastic smile with Matthew didn’t come out of him. Something was off with Mike. In a way, Matthew thought that he’s again not pleased with another of Matthews decisions. Oftenly Mike did that when Matthew said something for Mike to do, which Mike didn’t wanted to. Thinking, that Mike’s fighting his own ego for the whole time they know each other or simply wondering that Mike could change for the better. Hardly any of this happened through the past months they’ve spent together, but Matthew hoped that its all for the better. Matthews warm soul still thought that his friend has a great side, somewhere underneath the toxic one. Soon enough seconds slid into minutes and thoughts about Mike didn’t leave Matthews mind. If most people struggled with the things in front of them, then Matthews struggle was his mind – the place where he spent most of his time.
The road through Germany didn’t change after an hour of endless driving to the Amsterdams direction. They didn’t know how fast they could drive because going above the hundred was another mission impossible for Matthews van. Matthews desire for going faster was one thing, but old groovy engine laying in the back of a van was a completely different one. Lacking some resemblance of a twenty-first century. Matthew wished for swifter speed forwards to Amsterdam, but as people said: ‘You can’t always have what you wish for, and be careful what you wish for.’
After a while, Matthew got tired of constant silence that dwelled between the three of them. Determined why Mike keeps his mouth shut for the past half an hour, he started asking simple questions and raising a small talk with him. Trying to get him talking, but nothing more than simple answers on simple questions he didn’t received. Caroline was long gone in the back and Matthew decided to tackle Mike with his elbow, and with the small gesture on his face, he poked him.
“What do you want me to say to you, Matthew?” Mike stopped for a brief moment to take a breath “Lately you don’t want to listen to anything I’m saying, man. Every time I’m trying to suggest soething fun, you or that girlfriend of yours denies it. You get what I’m saying?”
Matthew sat speechless behind the wheel. Going through his mind he tried to look for an answer to a question, which would respect both of the sides – Mike and Caroline.
“That is what I thought – nothing. Can’t we just get through with all this? You know, get to damn Amsterdam and get our faces smashed against the spacewalk?”
Mikes tone raised, he couldn’t sit there in silence, and like a bubble, he burst open. Turning front of a van into a verbal fighting arena. Matthew, who hated arguing until the bottom of his heart; for every time argument was about to start, like a switch in his mind turning, he evaded it. Driving a van when a passenger begins to argue sure wasn’t a place which he could evade. The sound of Mike loud voice woke up Caroline who was in an early nap when at the brink of her falling asleep she heard Mikes voice loudly coming from the front. Instantly her attention was on them two and what’s about to happen. By the looks, she could tell that Matthew is trying to remain calm, while Mikes feelings about her is pouring out of his mouth. Caroline could hear him going over and over the same sentence with the same idea behind it – get high.
“Mike, are you addicted from that stuff you keep encouraging Matthew to smoke all this time?” Caroline’s head leaned forward and with cold looked into Mikes’ eyes. He was doing the same thing, and giving a small pause he said.
“I’m not encouraging him anything, it’s always his choice. His and his only. But you lady,” Mike raised an index finger and poked her in the chest “you’re the one who keeps reminding him what’s good for him. Do you think we don’t deserve some fun?”
Mikes eyes turned to Matthew and he waited, like awaiting an answer which would never come. Mike felt betrayed in the way. All that could be changed if Matthew stopped a van and stoped listening to Caroline so often. Both of them looked surprised when Matthew looked at them, curiously with an idea already settled on his mind.
“See?” He pointed out of the window straight ahead “Amsterdam.”
A sign showed three hundred and eighty-seven kilometers. He fell silent, continuing to steer the wheel towards the Amsterdam.
“See? Look what you’ve done. Dude’s determined as fuck. But what the hell, I’ll be in the back. Patiently waiting for an Amsterdam or the next border, because that’s when we’re gonna start feeling some action going on in here. Adios!”
Mike waved his hand and disappeared to the back of a van, changing places with Caroline. She was now besides Matthew. Comparing to Mike her taste in music was slightly better and from time to time she kept opening the window for stale air to ventilate. Caroline didn’t talk as much as Mike. Charisma and throwing her eyes towards Matthew was what kept them both interested in each others company. She wasn’t big of a talker, but when it came to charm someone like Matthew she was the one. This time it was slightly different. After Matthew had received a call from Ruth, their conversations changed and determination in his soul lid on fire. He felt like he’s finally there, at the finish line. For the last thing he has to do is to get to Ruth, where all his question would gain answers.