Fictitious and delicious!
"Music Sounds Better With You" by Stardust, originally released 1998
Staring out the vestibule window at the inky, lightning-highlighted skies, I breathed a sigh of relief. Darren and I were almost home. Well, we still had to get to the condo from the train station. Mitch had been kind enough to check on the condo a couple times to make sure that there wasn't any damage by potential agents provocateur. I suppose the photos our cat sitter provided should have been enough of a clue, but having a contact outside the city helped a ton. It allowed me to relax on this vacation (even though relaxation proved to be elusive on some legs of our trip). The train does stop moving, and the room attendant opens the door, flooding the vestibule with humidity I could swim through.
Darren and I found that our car was as far away from the escalators and elevators as possible, so we began wheeling our suitcases to the depot entrance. Glancing around, I spotted pockets of people on the platform. A couple had tugged their masks below their chin to smoke, while others tugged up their masks in preparation for boarding. We ended up taking an elevator due to the escalators not being available. At least we only had to share it with one other person. Once in the depot itself, we followed the winding path back to ground level so we can meet up with our ride.
I looked up from dealing with a wonky wheel on my rolling suitcase only to find Mitch waving at us. I guess he found a place to park and decided to stretch his legs.
"Our ride's here," I said to Darren.
"Guess he'll be getting home late," Darren replied.
"I get the feeling that might not matter much, other than him staying awake for the remainder of this drive."
A clap of thunder echoed off the neighboring buildings.
"I don't think that's going to matter much," Darren remarked, causing me to giggle into my mask.
We speed-walked the remaining distance to Mitch and spotted a short distance in front of him. I spotted a bit of beard peeking out from behind his steel grey mask.
"Hi, Mitch," I greeted him. "Good to see you."
I waved and gesticulated around my person. "I'd give you a hug, but I should try to keep my multistate germs to myself."
Mitch chuckled. "I get it, and we'll have to go back to Facetime for a bit during your quarantine."
"Yeah, that's a bummer."
"Well, we should probably get going. My parking space time is starting to run out."
"Lead the way."
Mitch escorted us to an ever familiar Silverado and popped open the tailgate. Darren and I loaded our suitcases and a couple other bags, although I held onto my camera backpack. In spite of having sat in a small room on a train, I let Darren take the shotgun seat so he could have more legroom. Mitch gave me a confused look, prompting me to reassure him that I was okay with it if he was. With a shrug, Mitch started his truck and began rolling out.
"There's some good ol' fashioned construction on 94," Mitch remarked. "I'm going to take a somewhat roundabout detour to avoid it and weaving through St. Paul. Plus, it gives me more time to chat with you. I've missed you, Christine."
"I've missed you."
"What am I? Chopped liver?" Darren interjected.
"Hardly," I said. "Travel is better when I have you around to laugh at the little things with me."
"Like hotel doors that include 'Don't give up' in their fire escape instructions?"
"It sounds like there's quite a story there," Mitch chimed in.
"You don't know the half of it."
We made it home before midnight with minutes to spare. As Darren unloaded the suitcases, I stood by the truck as close to Mitch as I could.
"I forgot to bring the pool noodle so we could 'hold hands'," Mitch lamented.
"It's alright. Two Sundays from now, as long as I don't start coughing up a lung, we should be able to meet up again."
"That's true. God, that feels like forever."
"It kind of is, but we'll make it. We've done it before."
"Yeah, we have."
"Say, are you available to Facetime tomorrow afternoon?"
Mitch cocked his head in thought. "I should be. Wanna talk aout your trip?"
I nodded. "There's quite a bit to go over."
"I bet. Looks like Darren's all set."
"Yeah," I replied as I looked over. "Guess that's my cue to go."
"Alrighty. Good night, Christine."
"Good night, Mitch," I replied with a tiny wave. "Drive safe."
I could see the smile in Mitch's eyes. "I will."