A drive from Oklahoma was doable in 3 days, but we were well into our fourth day without being any closer to our destination. Nick and I were savoring our freedom. Rather than driving nonstop, we took frequent breaks. On top of that, we avoided a straight shot and took detours through unnecessary states. But by the third day, sleeping and eating in the car was beginning to grow old.
“Where do you want to eat,” I asked.
We were somewhere in Kansas driving down a strip of fast-food chains.
“Anywhere is good,” Nick said.
He was in the backseat reading one of his comic books. I doubt he was paying me much attention until I said, “come on, I always choose.”
“Because you know what you want,” he said.
“You have to decide,” I said.
“I don’t want to.
He didn’t even put down the book. I could hear him flipping through the pages.
“If you don’t...we won’t have sex tonight,” I threatened.
“You know I can hold out longer than you,” he laughed, finally setting his comic aside.
“Pick somewhere to eat. And nowhere vegetarian, or vegan, or any of that bullshit.”
I hated being aggressive, assertive, or demanding. It made me feel like my dad. Sure, his assertiveness earned him a house, three kids, and a wife, but it eventually cost him his wife and a son. I didn’t want to be the same.
“I don’t want to,” he repeated.
“Pizza or Chinese, chicken or fish, curry or pasta,” I ranted.
“Why don’t we cook tonight?” He asked while we passed a Walmart.
“That is such a cop-out,” I laughed, but I wasn’t disagreeing, so I added, “we’d have to stop and get a room somewhere.
“A bed would be nice,” Nick said, looking out the window.
“You know, we could make more stops along the way. Maybe stay somewhere for a week,” I suggested.
“We’re already making plenty of stops. And hotel rooms are expensive.”
“I’m the one doing all the driving. And you said you have money, can’t we afford a break? A real break,” I asked.
“I do, but it has to hold us over until we get somewhere permanent and find jobs and stuff...And it’s not my money anymore. It’s our money.”
“Babe,” I said, looking in the rearview mirror at him looking at me.