When she was a kid, she liked to pick raindrops on the car window and see which one would win the race to the bottom. She would miss the scenery whipping by in favor of two little droplets leaving streaks of water behind.
Driving in the car was always a pastime she enjoyed. She didn’t have to talk. There was no pressure to do anything, but sit there. When she got tired of raindrop races, her thoughts could take her anywhere she wanted to go. Or she could let the hum of the car lull her to sleep. The backseat brought peace and comfort.
It occurs to her that maybe the car shouldn’t be such a safe place. She can still remember being so cold as they sat in their car on the side of the dark road with her older sister covered in glass next to her after some teenagers threw a rock through the back window. It’s a confusing memory, one mostly filled with a desperate desire to be home and warm.
She can also vividly remember the car ride to the lawyer’s office—a completely unrelated event. She doesn’t know why she remembers that trip so well, but possibly it’s because her mother wouldn’t tell her where they were going or why. She remembers being scared, but trying to pretend nothing was wrong for her little sister. (Sitting in the office was worse than sitting in the car. She still hates Hercules to this day because it was playing on the television.)
So she has a few bad memories of in the car, but they don’t outweigh the good. Her personal favorites are the drives to southern California, sitting on the floor of the AC-less van, eating melting ice cream. Or squished in the backseat of her father’s truck, trying to wiggle her fingers out of the tiny window crack on the way to their annual camping trip. Or sitting on the maroon leather seats, blasting the same song over and over heading to literally, the middle of nowhere.
But for the most part, riding in the car is a simple, mundane task that happens every day. It’s where she can sing off key, slurp coffee on the way to work, or pretend to be five again and fall asleep on the way home while the “grown ups” murmur in the front seat.