Rain splattered the windshield, scattering fat droplets. She had been waiting over in hour in tourist traffic trying to get back to the one place she didn’t want to go.
It all said it there you could never run from it, its like a fox stalking a hen, and she was then hen, and the fox was this damn island.
No. It had already fucked her, out of a friend, out of her mind.
“Jeasus why am I doing this?” She said out loud, the only answer being the raindrops on the windshield.
She was happy living in Houston, working for NASA as a mission specialist for the upcoming Mars mission, she was happy because nothing in Houston reminded her of this fucking place.
She was happy being single, being bi-sexual, and didn’t give a fuck what anyone thought about it. She was smart, she was loved by many friends so why did she respond to the email telling her about the goddamn reunion?
A sudden tap interrupted her interior argument with herself, as the ferry attendend beckoned for her to move.
Here we go. She thought. I need a drink, a smoke, a fuck. Something.
“Erin?” Said a loud voice outside her window.
She jumped again, cursing, Did people fucking need to shout?
Then she recognized the man whose voice that belonged to.
It was him, and after all these years in that moment, it all came back. All her feelings toward him surging up, as she rolled the passenger window down.
“Chad!” She said, “Oh my god!”
His face brightened up, he had aged slightly but still looked the same, aside from some added weight.
They were on the ferry boat now, the familiar drone of the ship’s engines, another pang from her memories.
“Yeah that’s me,” He joked, “God of Entertainment.”
“I saw your last movie,” She told the director, “Very good flick”
“Oh please, that was a bomb no one liked it!”
She smiled and wrapped her arms around him, picking up his sent that was so damn familiar. He hugged back, but was very shy about it, like he was . . . . Uncomfortable.
“Well I would have gone with a different ending,” She suggested, following him to the bow, as the engines rumble signaled the vessels departure.
“Oh really, Mission Specialist?” He cocked his head to one side, like a puppy dog, that his eyes must have belonged to in another life.
“Those damn bumper stickers,” Erin smiled, “Or you must have been watching CNN.”
“Hell yes!” He replied, “I am probably as excited as you are. I have been waiting for the first manned mission to Mars for a while now, my taxes can prove it.”
The waves kicked up in front of the bow, and rain was blowing in their faces, his face seemed to change as he looked at the island. Apparently she wasn’t the only one dreading this crossing.
“So, are you looking as forward to this as you are about the mission?”
At least he was putting humor into it.
“Uh,” She shook her head, “That would be a negative.”
He grabbed her hand then, making her skin cringe. This was when he was going to start talking about it all over again, this was where she had to maintain her integrity and not give in, not now when she was trying so hard to not let him see her dread.
“I know why, and for the record,” he leaned in closer. “I’m not either.”
* * *
They followed each other up to the hotel in Langly, where the checked in. The weather seemed unwelcoming as the west winds kicked up. Erin put her bags and laptop into the hotel, and grabbed a small bottle of vodka and drained it.
It wouldn’t be her last this weekend.
She was about to grab another when there was a knock at the door. Chad was standing there, smiling.
“I want to go for a drive,” He said, “I mean, I thought I would see my mom anyway, I didn’t want to stay with her so shes already pissed at me about that.”
No this was a total cop-out, she knew where he really wanted to go.
“Chad there is no way its still out there, the bluff probably gave away years ago.”
“Well, it was when I visited here last summer, you’d be surprised. The more things change.”
“The more things stay the same.” She finished.
“Whew!” He said fanning her breath away with his hand, “You’ve become an alcoholic”
“Oh fuck you!” She laughed, “By the end of this weekend I’ll go into The Betty”
A half-hour later they were driving down the same old windy road in Chad’s Mercedes, he had nothing but 90’s music playing on the stereo.
“This goddamn rain!” She complained. “I hate this fucking state.”
“I know why you do,” He answered, “The same reason I hate it, because of the lovely memories, but hey you got a trade off, pouring rain, for tornados and cowboys.”
Erin secretly wished she had brought another little bottle of vodka, now he was flirting with her. Then she saw it, like a miniature Devils Tower appearing in the fog like a ghost.
“Damn!” She exclaimed, “That’s it! That’s were it all happened!”
“Yeah” His tone had changed again, happy to sad in a single moment.
The expensive car treaded over mud and eventually came to rest. They both gazed at it, in a sort of terrified way as if it was not a harmless dead tree but a Tyrannosaurus Rex ready to devour them. In silence, they got out of the car.
“It got so small.” He said, the same dry tone.
“Some of us got bigger” She said patting his slightly round stomach.
He didn’t laugh, but indeed looked pale. He was staring at something on the stump, writing, initials, their initials, hers wrapped up in a heart with
His initials, also in a heart with
This is were Erin started to lose it, he stomach tightened, her eyes became glassy, and out of anger she was doing this in front of Chad, made a last attempt to hold back the tears. Alas, it was if he was doing the same, for his eyes were sparkling with tears as well. His arm wrapped around her shoulders, and they both wept, their tears joining the rain.