#6 from The 3 A.M. Epiphany by Brian Kiteley
|We were lost. Hopelessly so. James slammed on the brakes and glared at Ruth, blaming her with his eyes. It didn’t matter, truly, whose fault it was that we were lost. All that mattered was that we were lost and we were lost together.
“I never should have listened to you,” James growled and ran his fingers through his thick black hair. Ruth had always admired the passionate way he did that when frustration kicked in, except when she was the cause of his frustration.
“I never should have let you drive,” Ruth retorted, just as sharply. Ruth knew that there were no enigmatic quirks James admired about her but she loved him anyway.
“We’re lost,” James said, stating the obvious. Yes, yes we are. Through the dark windows, Ruth could make out endless fields of wheat, abandoned and wavering in the wind. She knew nothing except that she was happy to be lost with the love of her life, if lost she must be.
“Well, what do we do, then?” she asked at last, as James stared helplessly through the windshield at the dirt lane illuminated by the dual headlights, cutting through the night sharply.
“Turn around, I guess,” he said and we did just that, turned the small Porsche around on the narrow road, carefully, for James had always been a good driver. “I’m sorry,” he said a few minutes later, as we were coursing down the road in the opposite direction.
“It was just a high school reunion, James,” Ruth said as we made our way north. “And, I didn’t really want to go,”
James didn’t respond because he knew how badly Ruth wanted to go, how badly she wanted to show off her career and husband. He frowned in concentration and regretted his decision to explore the tempting side roads off the highway. We didn’t have the time for that, not truly, but it was always something James wanted to do.
Ruth turned on the radio and we rode in silence for a short time. The music poured out of the speakers like warm water in a bath. It soothed our rough edges and brought peace to our tattered souls. We had strived to have a deep marriage, an enviable marriage, complete with jobs that paid well and a house even the Jones’ would envy. However, there was one thing in our perfect life that we didn’t count on and that one thing was what wounded us the most.
“I’m sorry about my comment on allowing you to drive. You are the best driver I’ve ever known,” Ruth said truthfully.
“Yeah…thanks…and I am sorry that I accused you of getting us lost. I was the one that wanted to go this way,” James smiled then and the silence returned. We were going home. No one would know of our wonderful jobs, terrific marriage, beautiful house, expensive car…but then, no one would know about our inability to have children either. We drove through the night in silence.
Years from now, we would look back on this day and understand the need for praise but also the need for forgiveness. It wasn’t entirely James’ fault, nor was it Ruth’s fault, that we couldn’t have children. We had so much to offer children. Though we sat entangled in adoption procedures, we were hitting more walls than a racquetball. So, we drove in silence and hoped that we could attend the next reunion with photos of our child, house, car, and life for all to see how perfectly we had proved all the skeptics of our relationship and marriage wrong.
WORD COUNT: 600