You thought it would be a good idea to have extras. Napkins, straws, little salt packets strewn all over the car between St. Louis and Oklahoma City. We ate French fries out of cardboard containers stuffed into cupholders, fast-food burgers dripping mayonnaise and pickle juice onto bare tanned legs, ice melting into our fountain pop.
“In America we don’t call it ‘pop,’” you said. I didn’t ask you any questions, I had learned things were better that way. Later I fell asleep and when I woke up we were parked somewhere outside Amarillo, you sitting on the hood of the car smoking a cigarette, staring out into the shimmering Texas twilight.
Six years, four cities, thousands of kilometres. A dozen other lovers and “In America, we don’t call them kilometres,” I can still hear you say. I reach beneath the drivers’ seat feeling for a lost quarter and at first I think my hand has been cut, bloody red gore smeared across my palm, between my fingers, under my nails. A ketchup packet, an artefact excavated from the dry, dusty plains of my past. I touch it and I remember, like an electric shock. The smell of your shaving cream. Your hand on my leg. What seemed like an endless road.
I roll down the window. And I let it go.
Amy Jones is the author of the short fiction collection What Boys Like and Other Stories (Biblioasis) and the forthcoming novel We’re All In This Together (McClelland & Stewart, June 2016). You can find her on Twitter @amylaurajones.