Road trip.

Even after a disaster is over with, it can take a while to get your mind back on gear. It can take even longer to get everyone in a community back to their usual routines. Yes, we were all anxious to get back to work, but at the same time, there were plenty of other things on our minds. Belle was pretty sick, her new little friend was having dizzy spells. Some of the elderly people were having trouble as well. There was a food shortage, as, after the arsonists set fire to the fuel, they raided our food supplies.

In the end, we took to a vote and decided that we send two people out to follow the gas truck to the next stop and get some food. Everyone else was either sick or too interested in getting back to work, so John and I ended up going. Belle was still fighting her ear infection, so I left her with the Wendz's so that Mrs. Wendz could take care of her and so she and Eve could play when they got better.

It was two days since John and I had kissed. Two days since we'd even talked. We volunteered simultaneously, neither of us knew that the other was going to go. It's not that I was avoiding him, it's just that I was busy. And I didn't want to be distracted. This is the first time I've ever had a 'crush' and I have so much else to focus on. There's no time for that stuff. But there was no backing out at that point, people needed medicine and food. So John got in the passenger seat of a state Jeep and I got in the driver's seat and we took off. It's a two day drive west to the next sanctuary, which is simply named "F4".

F4 is the army base where all basic training is done now. It's also the home of one of the largest food creation plant in America. They grow and preserve all sorts of food: fruits, grains, veggies, even chickens and cows.

The first hour we listened to the radio, but you can't really listen to the same broadcast of "these coordinates for safety" and "these tips for avoiding infection" for more than an hour. The second hour, I drove in silence and John read some of his notes and scribbled some math on a diagram. For the third hour, we switched drivers and I watched the road pass by. And by the fourth hour, we were ready to talk, even if it wasn't about anything we were really thinking about.

We talked about work, about Belle, about the different places we've been, the different places we wanted to see. We didn't talk about anything heavy, no talk about PTA, about actually having kids, about the people we'd lost... We just talked about the funny things, and about the things that made us happy, and about our dreams and hopes. We talked for hours, but eventually we got to the point we were too tired to drive anymore, so we stopped on the highway by a tall median so that we could take turns sleeping. I went first, the back seats in the jeep had been taken out so there was enough room to lay down, though I had to curl up. John sat watch for four hours while I slept, then we traded off and I watched for four hours. I have to admit though, I wasn't watching the road for all four hours.

When he woke up I slept for a bit in the passenger seat while he drove. When I woke up, we stopped and ate some of the food we had brought. Bagels with honey. Finally, he started talking about real things. I couldn't think of anything else to talk about to avoid the subject.

"Dahlia, I want to tell you something."
"Oh? What's that?"
"I had a wife once. She was older, and she had a daughter. They're both dead. PTA victims."
How do you answer that? And why would he even tell me? I didn't know how to respond, so I just looked at him and prayed he would say he was joking so I could just be mad at him for making such a cruel joke.
"I just thought I should tell you. I don't want any secrets here."
"Oh, well, ok... That's...good?"
"I'm sorry, I'm sure  you're a bit confused. I'd like to try and have a relationship with you.. And I don't want you to agree to it without knowing full well what's entailed. I'm over it, she wasn't very good to me in the first place, but I just want to be open."
"Well, that's... a lot to process. I mean, thank you for being honest with me. And I'm sorry that it happened like that. But, what if I don't want to get into something serious right now?"
"Ok, answer this for me, Do you enjoy my company?"
"All right, and can you tell me why you don't want to try?"
"Because, I've got--"
"Other things to focus on? I can help you."
"Well, there's also--"
"Belle? I'm great with kids. Remember, I was a step dad."
"But I've never--"
"Done this before? That's ok. Just be yourself and if it works then we got it right, if not then we do something else and we can be friends and not have that question in the back of my mind every time I see you smile whether or not we could have made it work. What do you say?"
I thought about it for a few minutes, weighed the pros and cons, and made the best decision I could.
"Yeah, what the hell. Let's try it."


  1. please keep writing, have many questions about how they will haul food and distribute...etc.

    1. Oh, you're going to be so surprised. I'm sure no one else will, but I know you, and you'll be surprised :p