Fiction Fragment Friday

This story is not even close to anything I have written before. It started with an image writing prompt that just inspired me. I have no idea why, but the art style of the image really caught my attention to the point that I researched the artist. The image was from an Italian Artist named Simone Ferriero. You can find his links below.

I am not someone usually so taken with an artist’s work so I really wanted to ensure I draw some attention to him.

                Let’s take one last girls road trip before college she said.  It will be fun she said.  Well, I should have known better than to have listened to little miss Daisy sunshine.  Her and reality have never been in the same place at the same time.  It certainly would be nice to live in her world where everything it bright and hopeful.  Here in the real world if things can go wrong, they usually do.  This trip has been a prime example of murphy’s law, but you wouldn’t know it talking to Daisy.   As always, she is having the time of her life. 

                The hits started on the way out of town.  First, we discovered that some country invaded another on the other side of the planet and caused our gas prices to double over night.  I’ll never understand how that works because it’s not like the gas station isn’t selling the exact same gas from the exact same tanks they did yesterday.  They certainly haven’t paid more yet so why do we have to? Of course, I had first turn to pay for gas.  To make matters worse we were up at the butt crack of dawn and the station’s coffee machine was out of order.  I don’t know how anyone can function before noon without coffee.  I’m just grateful I wasn’t first up for driving too.

                We got stuck in construction traffic on I45 that left the interstate as a parking lot.  Of course, little miss sunshine didn’t mind at all.  She kept telling us we weren’t in a hurry anyway and wanted to play “I spy”.  She even rolled down her window and tried to start conversations with the other cars on the road.  I have no idea how, but she managed to find the one person on the face of the planet who would actually sing along with her to “The Song That Never Ends”.  Of course, this was when my earbuds’ batteries decided to die.

                To make up some time we decided to just go through a drive-thru and eat in the car for lunch.  Of course, all the orders were screwed up.  The more we complained about our food the more she went on about how she never would have ordered hers like that but how it was so much better than what she normally got.  I am pulling onions and tossing them out the window gagging at the smell, and she is up there discovering a new favorite menu item.  Of course, Jessie is lactose intolerant and the cheese on her order made her release the deadliest silent farts for the next forty miles.  Naturally I was sitting between her and Katie in the backseat and both refused to roll down their windows. 

                As if the drive hadn’t been miserable enough now the car broke down in the parking lot of a motel that I don’t even think roaches would check into.   Somehow despite being a dump they only had one room available.  I’m betting all the others were rented by the hour if the sounds coming from the adjacent rooms, were any indicator.  Either that or there are some very religious people in this part of town who just must scream that faith at the top of their lungs to be heard over the squeaking box springs.  I can only guess what they think we are doing with Daisy bouncing on the bed in excitement trying to get the group to share spooky stories.  I decided to appease he and told the story of what I think caused the stain on the chair that Jessie was sitting in.  Needless to say, Jessie did not care for my story and immediately switched chairs. 

                Early the next morning before I woke up Becky had already fixed the car, refilled the tank, and brought us all fresh coffee with donuts.  Have I mentioned that Becky might very well be my favorite person in the whole world?  Well, she usually isn’t, but she certainly was that morning.  I praised my caffeine goddess as she handed me the lifeblood I needed to function.  A half hour later and we were loading back up into the car. 

                “Didn’t that motel have so much character?”  Daisy was so perky as she loaded her bag in the trunk that I finally couldn’t take it anymore.  I know I shouldn’t have, but I just snapped. 

                “Character?  It was a shithole, and you know it.  I feel like I need a Hepatitis shot just from being in there.”

                “Just once can you stop complaining and try to have a good time.  Everyone else has been having a great time, but you’ve just been bitching this whole trip.”  This was the first time she had ever raised her voice at me.  Her face dropped though as she looked around at the rest of the group for support.  They wouldn’t meet her eyes and some of them started mumbling.  “None of you are having a good time?”

                Jessie, always the peacekeeper, jumped in trying to reassure her.  “We’re not having a terrible time exactly.  It’s just not really going as planned is all.” 

                I could tell that Daisy was fighting to keep tears from her eyes.  “Well, if you all feel like that let’s just go home then.”  The sobs started coming as she got in the car for her turn to drive.  I didn’t want to be on the trip, but this wasn’t what I wanted either.  The guilt hit me hard. 

                “Hey guys.  Can you give us a few minutes?”  The others all gave their agreements while avoiding looking at me or Daisy behind the wheel.  It was an extremely awkward moment, but they all found other things to do away from the car.

                I slid into the passenger seat looking forward out the front window.  We sat in silence for a moment while she composed herself.  It wasn’t really silence, but I gave her the dignity of ignoring the sobs.  “Are you happy?   You got what you wanted.”

                My initial reaction was to be defensive, but for once in my life I pushed that down.  My friend was hurting, and it was my fault.  “Why was this trip so important to you?”

                “In a few weeks you’re all heading off to college.  I can’t afford to.  You’re going to go out and make something of yourselves in the big cities and I’m just going to be the same old pathetic me.  I just wanted one last memory with all of you while I still had you.  I wanted to give you something so maybe you would think about me sometime.”

                “Hey first there is nothing pathetic about you and I don’t want to ever hear you talk that poorly about my friend again.  Second, there is no way I would ever forget about you.   You’re the glue that keeps this group together and being in separate cities for a few years isn’t going to change that.”

                “Yes, it will, and you know it.  Nothing is ever going to be the same.” 

                “Of course not.  Life is about change.  I’m not going to lie to you and say that some of us won’t grow apart in the next few years.  Some of us will, but you know what?  Some of us won’t.”  I turned to look at her, but she wouldn’t meet my gaze.   I reached out and wiped a tear from her face.  “Besides I’m not going anywhere?”

                “What do you mean?  You got accepted to your first choice.”

                “Yeah, and I can’t afford it.”  I looked down at the floorboard.  “I just didn’t want to tell any of you.  I’m going to live at home and go to community college.  Honestly, I’ve been a bit jealous that the rest of you get to escape.”

                We sat there for a moment in silence until she burst into laughter.  I looked at her incredulously for a moment until I broke down and joined her.  Some people have a laugh that you just can’t help but join in with and Daisy has always been one of those people.   When she recovered, she was gasping for breath.  “We are quite a pair, aren’t we?” 

                “Yeah, I guess we are.  Forgive me?”

                “Done.  Forgive me?”  She was smiling again, and it instantly made me feel better.   

                “You did nothing to need forgiveness for.”

                “This is the song that never ends.  It goes…”

                I frantically cut her off.  “Ok you’re forgiven just please no more.”  We both started laughing again.  “Now if we work together, I bet we can turn this trip around and give you that one last hurrah with the group.”

                “You mean it?”

                “Hey what are friends for?”