My father looks up the wet steps illuminated by the beaming headlights at the top of our driveway. He opens the door for me.
Thanks, I say.
But what I’m really saying is: thanks for not asking about who is picking me up.
Thanks, in fact, for never asking me anything.
The car door is heavy because it’s a truck. I imagine myself as a tiny monkey, swinging the door open and hanging on the handle, feet off the ground. I close the door with a slam.
Hi, I say.
How was your evening, he says, deviating from his usual mumble, he enunciates every word. I feel flattered.
He pulls out of the driveway.
It is raining and it is night.
I don’t know where to put my bag because the floor is caked with dirt and the bag was expensive.
Do you want to go buy some coffees, he says. I’m sorry, he says.
There is never anything to do here.
We buy coffees.
I linger in the Starbucks parking lot and he gets back in his truck. I look at the sky.
Are you coming, he calls.
I’m coming, I say quietly, but I’m saying it to the stars.
We drive around.
We drive to where he works. It is a warehouse of some kind. I don’t ask what he does at the warehouse. I’ve known him for too long, it would feel strange to ask him. On our way to the warehouse, we pass by a car parked in the middle of the street. It seems reckless to park a car in the middle of the street. A girl is sitting in the back. The inside car light is shining on her like a spotlight. She is wearing leggings that have a picture of a purple galaxy printed on them, and she is hugging her knees.
When we round the bend we see a boy zipping up his pants. He is walking back to the car with the girl in it.
We park and he rolls a joint in silence. The silence is okay.
He starts the engine again.
Did we just come here to roll, I say.
I don’t want to smoke here, he says.
I feel confused and also thrilled.
As we leave the parking lot we pass by the couple in the car. The light is still on. The girl who was hugging her knees now seems aggravated. They are both wildly searching for something in the car. I can hear her yelling, but I can’t make out the words.
Trying to find their last crack rock, he says.
It seems like a fact. We were just driving to his warehouse to roll a joint in the suburbs of St. John’s, and now there is a teen couple in the middle of the street, in the middle of the night, looking for their last crack rock.
We drive around smoking. I make an effort not to get too high.
I drink the milky coffee with vanilla syrup and ice cubes melting.
We drive to a beach. We park so we can see the ocean from the car. I feel incredible. I feel that this is a perfect night. I feel high.
Man, I feel like I’ve been a shell these past 6 years, he says.
Yeah, I say. Why.
I don’t know man, he says.
Were you isolated, I say.
Yeah, he says.
It’s a good thing you broke up, then, I say.
Yeah, he says.
He removes the arm rest between us.
I didn’t know you could do that, I say.
Have you never been in a pick-up truck, he says.
There is a lot of space between us.
Do you want to go down to the water, I say.
We walk to the rocky beach. It’s drizzling. We can see a ship on the water. It has little lights on it. I wish I was on the ship.
I wish I was on the ship, I say.
He is looking at the ship.
I don’t, he says.
I touch his wrist even though it’s far away from me. I made an effort to reach his wrist. I touch it gently and let go again.
But he keeps looking at the ship.
This is harder than I thought it would be.
What do you think they’re doing in there right now, I say. Playing cards.
Probably, he says.
Playing cards and eating mashed potatoes and drinking whiskey, I suggest.
Probably not drinking, he says, unsmiling.
Oh, yeah, they can’t, I say. They’re working. That’s good.
We walk back to the car. I’m touching his wrist.
It is so quiet. Just the ocean.
Your hair smells like pineapple, he says.
There is a lot of space between us.
I look at him, making eye contact for what feels like the first time.
I’m trying to dissect my attraction. We have nothing in common. He is good looking, but none of my girlfriends agree. He has a shaved head and dark eyebrows. Since high school, he’s become slightly overweight, which I like.
Can you drive me home, I say.
He drives me home. He doesn’t protest or suggest anything else, even though it was a test.
We park at the top of my parents’ driveway.
The headlights are shining down to the house.
The stairs are wet.
Can you at least kiss me, he says.
You kiss me, I say.
He leans over and kisses me. He tastes like coffee.
Fuck, he says.
We keep kissing.
I don’t mind it.
Can we go somewhere, he says.
I didn’t think you wanted to, I say.
Suddenly, I’m annoyed.
You are sexy, he says.
I am fantasizing about never seeing him again.
Come on, he says. We can do it quickly.
I laugh. I try to communicate everything in the laugh.
I slam the car door shut. It’s a heavy door, you need to slam it.
I walk down the wet steps. I walk around the kitchen quietly so I don’t wake my parents. I microwave some noodles.