We were driving on gravel country roads, making a constant loop around the boundaries of our little town. Spence was sitting in my passenger seat. We'd dropped everyone else off and it was just us, neither of us ready to go home yet, just driving. The CD in the player was soft and low, just background noise.
I can barely remember now what we were talking about, if anything. I was just about to take a left when Spencer said, "Have you ever thought about the person you're gonna' marry?"
I looked over at him but he was looking straight ahead. "Yeah," I answered. "All the time." You, I thought. I think about you. My hands started feeling heavy and I was fidgeting. "Have you?"
He nodded. "Yeah. Sometimes." He shrugged and leaned back in his seat. "I was thinking about telling my parents you know? The big, 'we're getting married' conversation?"
He nodded again. "I have this whole big picture in my head of what it'll be like. I'll be sitting in the kitchen and she's on my lap. My mom's standing at the counter with a bowl of cereal and we just look at each other, my girl and I, and we smile and just know that we're gonna' tell 'em." He was smiling peacefully, lost in his fabricated reality. "So I tell my mom that we've got something to tell them. And she drops her spoon in the cereal and she calls for my dad." He grinned, but he still didn't look at me. It was almost as if he was telling the story to himself. "She's all 'Dave, you better get in here!' and he comes in and I take my girl's hand and hold it up so they can see the ring..." he trailed off, shaking his head a little.
I could picture it in my head, clear as day. Everything he said...I wondered if perhaps he'd dreamed it. "Just some random girl?"
He looked over at me then and shook his head slowly. "No," he said. "No I have this idea in my head about who she is."
I was holding my breath. I wanted so badly to ask him, because I wanted more than anything in the world for him to say it was me. But somewhere in the back of my mind I knew it wasn't. It wouldn't be. It couldn't be, or he wouldn't have told me the story at all. "Who was it?" I asked finally.
He grinned and turned his attention away from me and back to the road again. "It's not Natalie, I'll tell you that much." He laughed a little. Natalie was in her crazy phase by then. It was sad, really. They had something pretty great before she got so overbearing. They were broken up by then and it had been, finally, the last time they'd do the getting back together and breaking up. For the rest of the time I'd know Spencer, he and Nat would be in the past.
I nodded. He was pretty into strong distaste for Natalie at the moment so I could have guessed that much for myself. "But you know who it is?" I prodded.
He sighed a little and shrugged his shoulders once. "Yeah...yeah, maybe."