The streetlights passed overhead, casting their paired reflections across the windshield , merging as they slid off the top of the tilted glass. They’d sat in silence since sneaking away from the shower; after carefully escaping the house and crossing the already-dewy grass to the rental car. That unique smell that only rentals seem to accumulate was somehow more comforting than the odd social scene with the highschool friends.
“That was awful” Tina said from the driver’s seat. Jenny only nodded, staring out the window at the passing town. It was all different. Perhaps taht’s what had set the tone before heading in to meet up with their best high school friend. They’d been so excited when the invite arrived — her and Tina had coordinated flights from opposite coasts to arrive at roughly the same time, so they could share a rental and have some company on the awkwardly [not socially awkward… surprisingly long… like Peña] long drive into town. When they’d arrived, the feeling washed over them immediately — a feeling like putting on an old pair of running shoes you’d well worn in, but hadn’t put on in years. Comforting in their familiarity, but just… off.
Tina pulled up to an intersection where [other name]’s spaghetti-bowl neighborhood road T-d into the main thoroughfare through town. [nope; we’ve already had a bunch fo streetlights? make sense or not?]
The five lane road, which had served as a happening place to drive while the trio was in highschool stood like a wide open ocean in the darkness ahead. More streetlights lined both sides, like lit buoys, something something… not feeling liek they’d been cut adrift. Almost everything was closed, despite the early-ish hour the dashboard’s LED clock insisted. A lit gas station on one corner, a blinking yellow as Tina sped through another intersection. [maybe we mention that it was like ‘autopilot’ for Tina to drive down this route]
A familiar corner was coming up, and Jenny sat up slightly in anticipation. Partly extending one finger, she started to speak “Oh! Up here, it’s…” the squat building sat dark, clearly uncared for under years of detritus and bored teenagers throwing shit into the parking lot. “Oh, it’s closed.” She turned to face Tina. “Do you want to get some coffee?” Tina’s eyes brightened, and she craned her neck forward slightly, peering further down the wide, dark street.
“Do you want to go to the Green place, or the Red place…” she asked wryly, having caught sight of two of the only open establishments up ahead, a pair of national chains facing off at each other across the inky blackness of the street.
“Green’s fine” Jenny replied with a smirk. It was on the righthand side of the road, so slightly more convenient, and it seemed to have slightly more cars in the parking lot. Though on second consideration, she wasn’t sure if that was a positive thing. It increased the potential for encounters with ghosts of the past no different than the ones who’d been crammed into [third woman’s] livingroom. She figured they’d deal if there were any more [whatever].
Tina snaked the wheel back and forth to navigate the curb cut and into a space with a gentle lurch. She slammed the gearshift into park. and shut off the car. She turned to face Jenny.
“Did she…? or did we…?”
“Both.” Jenny replied. She flashed on her expectations for the trip — piling in the car with Tina and Tara, driving up and down the road they’d just navigated, silly pop music they’d used to listen to on full blast, windows down, as they pulled into [whatever] Diner . (go back and make the diner thing closed). The vision evaporated as her mind fast forwarded to the party… if you could call it that. How could they have grown so far apart in just a few short years of Jenny and Tina moving away? She felt tears heating up behind her eyes as she thought of all the future the three of them had pictured, and how unlikely it was now. She screwed up her mouth to one side, and caught Tina’s eye. Gently nodding assent at her own statement, and raised her eyebrows in faux-defeat.