Solo Road Trip

I had been counting down the days for the last ten days. Ten long days until I FINALLY got to leave for my second solo road trip. Another trip to Kansas, to see my grandparents.


On the tenth day, I had a happy panic dance party, and then called just about everyone in my phone’s contact list to let them know the good news. On the ninth day, I did all of the laundry in my apartment… even some that was already clean. Had to look my best! On the eighth day I sorted through my make-up to see what kind of look I wanted to go for during the week that I was gone. On the seventh day, I made arrangements with my mom to babysit my cat; he needs guidance when I’m not around. On the sixth day, I rearranged all the doctors appointments I had during the designated vacation time. On the fifth day, I double and triple and quadruple checked that I had all my bills paid for the month. I did not want to deal with pesky bill collectors during my stay. On the fourth day I cleaned my car, inside and out - that way it was perfect for comfortability and for showing off. On the third day, I packed all the entertainment items, you know, chargers, laptops and tablets, books, things of that nature. On the second day I packed all the essentials - the clothes, the toiletries, the works. And finally, on the last day - the day of the trip… I wished I had never left my house.


Oh how I wish I’d never even thought of planning this trip.


It started off well enough. I got up bright and early at about 5:30 in the morning, too jazzed to possibly sleep anymore. I took a shower, brushed my teeth, washed my face. Picked out a cozy but fashionable driving outfit, and made sure I had extra masks in my car, just in case. Couldn’t be too careful travelling during a pandemic, even if I was by myself. I had coffee and threw some in a travel mug. I ate a bagel with cream cheese. I had already dropped off my cat with my mother the night before, so I had no further responsibilities to attend to aside from loading my car, gassing up, and hitting the road. I was floating on cloud nine with excitement.


It didn’t take long to get my things into the trunk. I was a light packer. Coffee in tow, podcasts ready for playing, I headed to the gas station. It was still early in the morning, and it was a Sunday, so it was pretty vacant in the lot. I pulled up to the pump closest to the door. I strolled inside; I wasn’t in a rush. I decided it was probably a good idea to hit the restroom, even though I wasn’t positive I had to go. I didn’t want to stop again until I got out of Ohio and into Indiana. Makes better time that way.


The first thing I noticed when I got in the bathroom was that it was occupied by someone. There were no stalls in this small gas station bathroom. It was just a room with a toilet and a sink. Startled, I apologized and began to excuse myself. The person filling the space was a young woman, presumably around my age. She had plain brown hair, very basic looking clothing, and no readily identifiable facial features. Before I could get all the way out of the bathroom, she turned and spoke to me.


“Wait.” she said. “Please don’t leave.”


“Do I know you?” I’m not sure why I asked that. It was the first thing to come to mind.


“No, I don’t think so. You don’t look familiar to me.” she replied. Wiping her eyes dry from the tears I hadn’t originally noticed, she continued. “I just don’t want to walk back to my car alone. There was a man outside when I got here who wouldn’t stop harassing me.”


This was not the answer I was expecting. Again speaking before thinking, I said, “The lot was empty when I walked in. All I saw was a car by another pump, and a car parked near the employee entrance.”


She pleaded. “Please. I’m begging you.” She began to cry again, even shaking a little. “I have seen him around many places lately, and I don’t know how he keeps finding me. Can you just walk me to my car, yanno, act like we’re friends?”


I hardly hesitated to answer. “Of course I can. And it’s not acting. Anyone in need is my friend.” We arranged for her to wait near the cash register so I could use the restroom myself and make my purchases in preparation for the trip ahead of me. Once I finished up in the restroom, I grabbed an extra coffee, bottled water, and headed to the cashier’s counter to pay for those and my gas. A full tank would definitely get me out of state.


As I approached, I silently appraised the gas station attendant. She was a large woman. Husky, and very tall. Not too large for her size, but large because of her size. Does that make sense? She had on a red apron, and even a hair net over her ponytail, which was in a bun. I had to stop myself from laughing. She sort of reminded me of the lunch lady from Matilda.


“Morning, miss.” she said as I sat my things on the counter and relayed the amount of gas I needed.


“You know this girl?” she asked, pointing at the woman I had only just met in the restroom.


Instinct said to protect her. “Yes, as a matter of fact I do. We’ve been friends from work for a few years now. I didn’t expect to see her here but we’re going to catch up before I head out on my road trip.”


“Road trip.” she mirrored. “Where are you headed?”


“Kansas!” I replied excitedly. “It’s my second time going, and I’m really looking forward to it.”


She looked far away, lost in thought while she nodded her head. “Well, be careful out there. You’re a pretty young woman and you never know how people can be when you’re out on your own.”


“Thanks.” I said simply. Again, I was not expecting that response from a simple interaction with a gas station attendant. I noted that she stared at me and my new founded companion, with her arms crossed, as we exited.


I turned my attention to the girl. “What’s your name?”


“Jane,” she said shyly, “Yours?”


“Erica.” I said in turn. “Just laugh a bit and tell me about something funny that happened at work while we walk to your car.” And she did exactly that.


“Well it’s been so good catching up with you, Erica!” she said, a little extra loudly. “Please call me when you get there!” she reached out to hug me.


As I hugged her back, I whispered, “Make sure to get in your car and leave before I’ve finished pumping my gas.” As we separated from our hug I had a second thought. “I almost forgot! I got a new number and I don’t know that I gave it to you.” I pulled out my phone prompting her to do the same. I punched my number into her phone and called myself. I immediately sent a text that said, “txt me when u get home, just so i no”.


We hugged once more, and this time she gave me a genuine smile. I headed to my car. Stowing my few purchases inside the car, I saw her pulling away before I even had the chance to start pumping the gasoline. It felt a bit eerie, standing in the parking lot all by myself, wondering if there was a man around some corner watching me, as she said he’d done to her. Nothing eventful happened in the timespan it took me to fill up, so I got in the car, punched the coordinates into my GPS, and I was off. Shaking off the odd encounter, I hunkered down for some quality time with myself.


The first leg of the trip was a breeze. I listened to my favorite podcast which kept my mind very busy. That helped make the driving not seem so long. I finished both coffees and had just cracked open the water bottle as I crossed out of Ohio and into Indiana. I stopped at the first rest area in the state.


On my last trip I was full of anxiety about not getting lost, having enough gas, and keeping a proper time schedule. This time around I was making a point to not be so anxious. I’d already done it once, so I knew I could do it again. This time I intended on enjoying my stops. Appreciating the fact that I was driving through multiple states, on my own, and basking in the happy memories that I was able to create for myself.


First I snapped a selfie with the ‘Welcome to Indiana’ sign. I went inside, grabbed a few brochures so I had some things to use for scrapbooking. I saw the attendant behind the counter and approached. She was an older woman, had to be in her late fifties or early sixties. She had white curly, bouncy hair. A red vest over a white long sleeved waffle shirt. Finishing off the ensemble was a pearly white smile that I swear could have blinded me.


“Hello! Welcome to our beautiful home state!” she said.


“Thanks! First time stretching my legs today.” I said, laughing as I bounced in place.


“Where are you headed?” she asked.


“Kansas!” I said enthusiastically.


“Wow! And where are you headed from?” she inquired.


“Ohio. Only just getting started.” I replied.


“Oh, yes, you’ve got a bit to go still.” she said in agreement. I supposed so. I asked where the restroom was located, as I had a lot to drink, and she informed me I’d have to go to the next exit and stop at the gas station, as they didn’t have one. I guessed I’d have to wait. I headed back to my car. I made a point to walk slowly so I really could stretch out my legs. I walked the grounds for about ten minutes, having a last minute change of heart about heading straight to the car. The scenery was really beautiful. I kept reminding myself that part of my goal this go around was to create new happy memories, just with myself. So I really took in the trees, shrubs, flowers, birds, butterflies, clouds, and even the few other people walking the grounds. Tucked them away in the happy part of my brain so I could access them when I was feeling down.


I made my way back to my car. My extra time used walking made me really need to use the bathroom, so I hurried my way back to the highway, and got off at the next exit just like the state guide advised me.


As I pulled into the gas station lot, I noticed that it, too, was pretty vacant. A decent amount of time had passed since I left for my trip, and even though it was a Sunday, I was a little surprised to see it so empty as the first one was. I pulled up to the pump closest to the door. I was anxious to get to the restroom - I really had to go. Plus, I didn’t want to stop again until I got out of Indiana and into Illinois. Even though this is more of a pleasure trip, I still wanted to keep good timing.


The first thing I noticed when I got in the bathroom was that it was occupied. There were no stalls in this small gas station bathroom. It was just a room with a toilet and a sink. I was very startled - it appeared almost exactly the same as the gas station I stopped at back in Ohio. I slowly began apologizing to the girl at the sink, and began to excuse myself. She had plain brown hair, very basic looking clothing, and no readily identifiable facial features. It was uncanny - she was practically identical to Jane. Before I could get all the way out of the bathroom, she turned and spoke to me.


“Wait.” she said. “Please don’t leave.”


“Why not?” I asked. I was positive I didn’t know her - I had no friends living in Indiana. “Do I know you from somewhere? You don’t look familiar to me, but.. I recognize you.”


Wiping her eyes dry from the tears I had immediately noticed this time, she continued. “I just don’t want to walk back to my car alone. There was a man outside when I got here who wouldn’t stop harassing me.”


The exact same thing Jane had said to me, word for word. Considering the situation, and that it was too specific to happen twice in one day, I decided to give her the same response I gave Jane just a few hours ago. “The lot was empty when I walked in. All I saw was a car by another pump, and a car parked near the employee entrance.”


She pleaded, just like Jane had. “Please. I’m begging you.” She began to cry again, even shaking a little. “I have seen him around many places lately, and I don’t know how he keeps finding me. Can you just walk me to my car, yanno, act like we’re friends?”


I hesitated for a long time before answering. I was pretty creeped out about how insanely similar of a situation this was. But my conscience was getting the better of me, and I didn’t have the heart to simply abandon this pleading woman because I happened to have already helped someone out today. You should always try to do one good deed a day, but that doesn’t mean to ONLY do one good deed. “Yeah, I’ll walk you to your car.” We arranged for her to wait near the cash register so I could finish my business. Just like I had with Jane.


I finished VERY quickly in the bathroom and just as quickly grabbed a large Red Bull. I needed the energy but I wanted to get the hell out of there. I silently appraised the gas station attendant as I approached the counter. She was a large woman. Husky, and very tall. Not too large for her size, but large because of her size. She had on a red apron, and even a hair net over her ponytail, which was in a bun. She sort of reminded me of the lunch lady from Matilda. This time I was not stifling a laugh. I was growing from creeped out to paranoid. She was an exact copy of the attendant from Ohio. What are the odds that I will see the exact same kind of people, in the exact same situations, in two different states?


“Morning, miss.” she said as I sat my things on the counter and relayed the amount of gas I needed.


“You know this girl?” she asked, pointing at the second woman I had met today.


Instinct did not intervene this time around. Hesitating, I said, “Yeah we know each other. Was just letting her know I’m in the middle of a road trip.” I decided to keep it short.


“Road trip.” she mirrored. “Where are you headed?”


“Kansas.” I replied nervously.


She looked far away, lost in thought while she nodded her head. “Well, be careful out there. You’re a pretty young woman and you never know how people can be when you’re out on your own.”


“Thanks for the warning.” I said, stunned. She gave me the exact warning the other attendant had. Am I that naive to how dangerous the world is nowadays, or was this repetitive conversation really as weird as I thought it was? I noted that she stared at bathroom girl number two and myself as we exited the building, with her arms crossed… just like before.


New bathroom girl and I walked slowly and quietly, not saying a word until we reached her car. I turned my attention to the girl. “What’s your name?”


“Jane,” she said shyly, “Yours?”


“Erica.” I said in turn now convinced that this had to be some sort of elaborate prank. And it was working, I was scared out of my wits. “Maybe we have met before. Now that I think of it you look familiar, and your name sounds familiar too.” She just stood and stared at me for a while until eventually she said, “Well it’s been so good catching up with you, Erica!” a little extra loudly. “Please call me when you get there!” she reached out to hug me.


I did not want this stranger touching me. I did not feel sympathetic towards her like I did to Jane #1. I was scared. Nonetheless, I hugged her back, and I whispered, “You can tell me who’s making you do this.” As we separated from our hug I had a second thought. “Let me give you my new number, I had it changed since we talked last.” I pulled out my phone prompting her to do the same. I punched my number into her phone and called myself. I immediately sent a text that said, “txt me when u get home, just so i no”.


I walked away, pretty briskly and pumped my gas as quickly as I could. Jane #2 pulled out of the parking lot before I had finished pumping. As I got back into my car and was about to pull away, I heard my phone ding, signalling that I had a new text message. To my surprise, it was a group text including myself, Jane #1, and Jane #2. Jane #1 had texted and said, “made it home. thx 4 the help this AM. let me no when u get 2 kansas.”


Now I was positive it was a prank. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on whoever set this up. I shot a text back: “haha ladies. never thought id c the day when twinsies set me up. have fun jane and jane. who set u up?” I sat and waited for a moment. The typing bubbles appeared on my phone and I felt my anxiety rising. Jane #1 responded, “haha the drive getting to u erica? i don’t no who else is jane, but i hope you get there safe.” I sat for about ten minutes waiting for Jane #2 to respond. No typing bubbles. No message dings. Nothing. They were sticking to the story.


Resolved to the fact that I wasn’t going to get to the bottom of the elaborate prank at that moment, I set back on my quest. I put back on my podcast, finished my water before I cracked open the Red Bull, and had a few small handfuls of cashews as I didn’t want to feel too full from a meal while driving. The time it took to drive through Indiana passed at a good pace, and by the time I crossed the Illinois state line, any fear I had about my first two stops of the day had dissipated. I’d bet money that it was my brother who planned this. I’d have to ask him where he lucked out meeting a pair of twins, and which one he was sleeping with. I laughed to myself as I pulled into the Illinois Welcome Center.


I got out and stretched my legs. My body. My everything. I was starting to feel a little stiff. Once again reminding myself to create new, happy memories, I did my due diligence and snapped a selfie with the ‘Welcome to Illinois’ sign. I found my way inside the building, and looked around for a few scrapbookable items. I quickly located the customer service counter and almost jumped when I saw the guide standing behind it. She was an older woman, had to be in her late fifties or early sixties. She had white curly, bouncy hair. A red vest over a white long sleeved waffle shirt. Finishing off the ensemble was a pearly white smile that I swear could have blinded me. There was no way that this was a part of the prank. A three state wide affair? Numb with confusion, I approached the counter.


“Hello! Welcome to our beautiful home state!” she said.


“Thanks,” I said hesitantly, “but this isn’t home for me.”


“Where are you headed?” she asked.


“Kansas.” I said feeling exacerbated.


“Wow! And where are you headed from?” she inquired.


I stopped. The exact same questions as before. If she’s in on the prank, she’ll know if I’m lying. I replied, “Massachusetts.”


“Oh, yes, you’ve got a bit to go still.” she said in agreement. Not a flinch. Exact same response as the first attendant. I annoyingly started to notice that the Red Bull really shot through me and once again I needed a bathroom. I asked where the restroom was located. Just like in Indiana, this little lady informed me I’d have to go to the next exit and stop at the gas station, as they didn’t have one.


I felt defeated. This was supposed to be a pleasure trip for me. I no longer suspected my brother of pulling this prank. Who had enough issue with me to go out of their way to ruin this for me? I knew I had no choice but to continue to Kansas. My grandparents were waiting for me, for one. Also - I had nowhere or reason to stay in Illinois, so why bother. And I was literally in the halfway mark of the trip. It’d take me just as long to get back home as it would to get to their house. Onward ho, I concluded.


I tried very hard to shake off the coincidence of all of this, and focus on the beauty of the location. I snapped some photos, walked around for a while, even took a few videos. Maybe I could turn all the mixed media I had into a little travel vlog. Feeling somewhat relaxed, I headed to my car, hopped on the highway, and right back off, pulling into the gas station just as I was told. Might as well fill up again - as one does during a road trip.


As soon as I saw the gas station lot, I wished I didn’t need to stop. It was pretty vacant, just like the first two. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the two cars in the lot looked the same as the first two, and were parked in the same locations. Half the day had passed since I left for my trip,so there should be more people filling the space. I pulled up to the pump closest to the door. I really needed to go to the bathroom, but the feeling in my gut was telling me I was going to regret it if I did. The logical side of me knew that it’d be a decent amount of time to get from Illinois to Missouri, and logic won. I made my way to the bathroom.


The first thing I noticed when I got in the bathroom was that it was occupied. There were no stalls in this small gas station bathroom. It was just a room with a toilet and a sink. I just felt numb at this point - it was a mirror image of the gas station I stopped at in the previous two states. I did not apologize to the girl at the sink this time. She had plain brown hair, very basic looking clothing, and no readily identifiable facial features. So Jane and Jane were not twins, but triplets? Across three states? My brain was trying very hard to rationalize everything I was seeing. I turned as quickly as possible to leave. Before I could get all the way out of the bathroom, she turned and spoke to me.


“Wait.” she said. “Please don’t leave.”


Keeping my eyes down, and not looking at her, I replied, “No, it’s alright. This is a single use restroom. I can’t wait outside.”


Wiping her eyes dry from the tears I already assumed she had been crying, she quickly replied. “I just don’t want to walk back to my car alone. There was a man outside when I got here who wouldn’t stop harassing me.”


No. Absolutely not. My brain was starting to shut down by this point, and there was no way three identical girls, in three separate states, were being stalked by three seperate men. My brain refused to accept this information. “Look miss, I am very far away from home and don’t want to get involved in any trouble.” Again I turned to leave.


She stopped me with her words, pleading, “Please. I’m begging you.” She began to cry again, even shaking a little. “I have seen him around many places lately, and I don’t know how he keeps finding me. Can you just walk me to my car, yanno, act like we’re friends?”


I was so angry with myself. All I wanted to do was run away, ignore her. But she looked so genuine. And scared. “Fine. I’ll walk with you to your car. But whoever you know that I know needs to have a conversation with me instead of… whatever this is. Is someone paying you? How much are you being paid?” My paranoia was quickly turning to anger. I waited for her to answer me, and she just stood, unblinking, looking at me. We arranged for her to wait near the cash register so I could finish up. Par for the course at this point.


I was thirsty but didn’t want to give myself a reason to need to use the restroom again. After a small inner argument with myself, I grabbed some water and headed toward the counter. I audibly sighed as I saw the woman behind the counter. She was a large woman. Husky, and very tall. Not too large for her size, but large because of her size. She had on a red apron, and even a hair net over her ponytail, which was in a bun. She sort of reminded me of the lunch lady from Matilda. Completely over it at that point, I rather aggressively set my things down on the counter.


“Morning, miss.” she said as I relayed the amount of gas I needed. I stared her right in the eyes, almost daring her to speak, knowing what she was going to ask me next.


“You know this girl?” she asked, pointing at the newest plain Jane.


Honesty is the best policy, right? “No. I don’t know her at all. I’m just being a good citizen and providing some assistance on my road trip pit stop.”


“Road trip.” she mirrored. “Where are you headed?”


“Kansas.” I barked.


She looked far away, lost in thought while she nodded her head. “Well, be careful out there. You’re a pretty young woman and you never know how people can be when you’re out on your own.”


“Yeah, like I haven’t heard that before.” I said, not even waiting for her to bag my one item purchase. At that point the anxiety was starting to boil under the surface again. The realization was coming to me that perhaps the people I should be wary of are the very people I keep interacting with. I noted that she stared at plain Jane and I as we exited the building, with her arms crossed. A carbon copy that seemed very dangerous to me.


I marched with much determination toward plain Jane’s car. “Let me guess. Your name is Jane.” I said this not as a question, but as a matter of fact.


“Jane,” she said shyly, “Yours?”


“Erica. But I think you already know that.” We had reached her car at this point. “Why are you doing this to me? Are you following me? Are you the same girl I’ve been talking to at every stop I’ve made?” I realized I was yelling at that point. It didn’t really matter. No one was around but is. I glanced back inside the gas station and noticed that the attendant was no longer behind the counter. Plain Jane just stood and stared at me for a while until eventually she said, “Well it’s been so good catching up with you, Erica!” a little extra loudly. “Please call me when you get there!” she reached out to hug me.


I stopped her from hugging me. I extended my hand and said, “I’m sure I’ll see you again in another few hours.” She stood still and stared at me. I pulled out my phone prompting her to do the same. I punched my number into her phone and called myself. I immediately sent a text that said, “txt me when u get home, just so i no”.


I walked away, and almost left until I realized I had to pump my gas still. Plain Jane was gone pretty quickly. Just as before, when I got into my car, my phone dinged with a new text message. Not to my surprise, it was a group text including myself and all three Janes. Jane #2 finally chimed in, but her text was the same as Jane #1 had sent. “made it home. thx 4 the help this AM. let me no when u get 2 kansas.”


I was fuming and near my breaking point. I typed back a text with thumbs of fury: “i don’t no who any of u r, but leave me alone. there is no way i met 3 jane’s in 3 states in 1 day.” I sat and waited for a moment. The typing bubbles appeared on my phone and I felt my anger raging. Jane #2 responded, “haha the drive getting to u erica? i don’t no who else is jane, but i hope you get there safe.” I sat for about ten minutes waiting for either of the other two to respond. No typing bubbles. No message dings. Nothing. I sent another message, “explain how there r now 4 phone #’s in this text group then.” I waited for what seemed like forever. Nothing.


I did not return to my podcast for the next stretch of the drive. I had reasoned with myself that perhaps the horror podcast I was listening to for almost eight hours was getting to me, and that I had somehow over exaggerated the extent of the interactions I had. Yes, it was improbable that this was all an organic course of events for the day, but not impossible. I forced myself to listen to the soothing lo-fi music as I drove. I kept myself hydrated. I practiced deep breathing techniques. I needed to let it go. I only needed to get through Missouri, and then I’d be in Kansas, and then I’d be safe with my grandparents before I knew it.


After what felt like forever I had crossed the state line. I did not want to stop. The pleasure aspect of my trip was no longer about enjoying the scenery and the various states I was travelling through. My pleasure would not come until I was finished driving and out of my car. To my detriment, Missouri was the longest stretch of the drive and I was forced to stop for gas. So I resigned to stick to the original plan. I pulled into the Missouri Welcome Center.


At that point, even though it absolutely terrified me, I knew what was going to happen when I walked inside. I was resigned to this fact. So I took a deep breath, got out of the car, and stretched my legs. I surveyed the landscape around me. Dragging my feet, I even went and took a selfie with the ‘Welcome to Missouri’ sign. As I was about to walk into the building, I noticed that the trees, shrubs, flowers, grass, birds, butterflies, clouds… everything looked super familiar. I opened up the photos application on my phone and looked at the pictures from the first two stops. Identical. Now this, I concluded, was not possible. My terror rose once again.


It was time to go inside, I told myself. I didn’t even bother looking around, I just walked to the counter.


“Hello! Welcome to our beautiful home state!” she said.


“Sure, sure.” I huffed. I was tired. “I’m not from here.”


“Where are you headed?” she asked.


“Kansas.” I said feeling exacerbated, still.


“Wow! And where are you headed from?” she inquired.


Lying didn’t change anything last time. “Does it matter? I’ve been driving for about 10 hours. There.”


“Oh, yes, you’ve got a bit to go still.” she said awkwardly. Somehow the response still fit everything I was saying. I did not inquire about a bathroom, but as I headed for the door, I was informed to travel on to the next exit and I’d find a gas station there with one.


Not a single thing was different about this Missouri gas station. The parking lot was pretty vacant, just like the first three. The same cars, in the same spaces. I had been driving for at least ten hours - other people had to have passed through. I pulled up to the pump closest to the door. For the first time today, I didn’t really need to use the restroom, but I really wanted to splash cold water on my face. Try to calm myself down. I made my way to the bathroom, with reluctancy.


The first thing I noticed when I got in the bathroom was that it was occupied. There were no stalls in this small gas station bathroom. It was just a room with a toilet and a sink. There was girl number four, standing in front of the sink. I didn’t try to turn and leave this time, and I didn’t try to speak right away either. I observed her. She was staring at her own eyes in the reflection, and she was crying, just like the others.


I needed to try and break this cycle. One of them had to do something differently. Instead of turning to leave, I took a step towards the girl. “Wait.” she said. “Please don’t leave.”


“I wasn’t trying to leave. Are you alright?”


Wiping her eyes dry from the tears she had been crying, she quickly replied. “I just don’t want to walk back to my car alone. There was a man outside when I got here who wouldn’t stop harassing me.” I took another step towards her, and she didn’t flinch an inch.


“Where did you see the man? I was just out there and I didn’t see anybody.” A plan was formulating in my head.


She stopped me with her words, pleading, “Please. I’m begging you.” She began to cry again, even shaking a little. “I have seen him around many places lately, and I don’t know how he keeps finding me. Can you just walk me to my car, yanno, act like we’re friends?”


I took another step towards her. “Okay, I’ll take you to your car. Just let me finish up my business here.” I patted her shoulder. She just stood waiting for me. I wanted to splash my face with water, and she wasn’t leaving the restroom. I sort of… nudged her out of the way, and she just watched me as I did so. No expression, no words, no nothing. “Ready?” I asked her. Again she just looked up at me, standing in place, until finally, exhausted, I walked out of the bathroom.


I could feel the exhaustion