it's summertime, and it's hot. earlier in the day, it was 102, but it has cooled down significantly. they are lost. he took the right exit, but he must've took a wrong turn somewhere. he hits one speed bump after another, and they might as well be bodies underneath him. it's so dark out, and he has to turn down his high beams because the other drivers are all annoyed. finally, he gives up, and he starts heading for home. he rests his head against his fist, arm propped up against the windowsill. she puts her hand on his thigh. "what's wrong?" she says. "nothing." "you can tell me," she says. he begins to cry. "i just wanted to make things perfect for you."

it's new years day, and the car is parked outside the window of cafe septieme. they are drinking hot cocoas with mini marshmallows. he drowns the marshmallows with his small spoon, and she watches him. he gulps the warm drink, and then he smiles. "this is the best hot chocolate i've ever had," he says. she blinks. "i'm glad," she says. back in the car she goes, brrr, and then she crosses her arms, rubs them up and down. he cranks the heat, and presses play on the cd player. diana krall's christmas songs. "there's still a little bit of christmas left," he says. when they get to the apartment, he rolls up a snowball and launches it at her. her mouth drops open, as if to say, did you really just do that? but by then, he's already rolling up another. she takes cover behind the car, stockpiling her own ammo.

he puts the pedal to the floor. he's going 80, pushing 90. "stop it!" she screams. "slow down!" but he won't. this is what his mother used to do to him, and it taught him a lesson. the lesson was, don't piss off the driver because the driver is the one in control. but he wasn't in control. he would rather die than not live in harmony with her. each fight seemed to escalate, and they had reached a point where there was no going back. he swerved in and out of lanes. what if a cop car had tried to pull him over? would he give up, or would he just keep going? she is crying and she is scared. he is doing this to her because he hates himself. why are you even with me? don't you see how goddamn fucking crazy i am?

"oh god," he says. she is doing something naughty, the sexiest thing she has ever done, and it pleases him because he believes that he is the only one she will ever do this for. she unbuttons her blouse, and he reaches over, cups her boob. her body has gotten stiff and cold from the air conditioning. "are you sure no one can see us?" she asks. "yes," he says, "i'm sure." but he isn't really checking. he'll say anything to keep feeling like the luckiest guy in the whole world. he checks his speedometer, and he's going 80, much faster than he had previously thought. he eases up on the gas, but it doesn't matter. nothing does. he's invincible, king of the road. king of all roads.

they've finished with dinner, thai food, and his stomach is killing him. too many spices and he feels like he's gonna die. he nearly runs a red light, and she finds it kind of funny. it is funny when he thinks about it later, but at the time, all he wants to do is find a bathroom. he pulls up to the parking garage, unbuckles his belt, puts the car in park, removes the keys, opens the door, jumps out, slams it shut. he doesn't look back. he's left her in the passenger seat, and he knows she will catch up with him later. he does what his body tells him to. he leaves her behind.

he drives slowly in the rain. she slips her hand into his. she rests her head on his shoulder, and she smells like the perfume her grandmother bought her as a present. when she leans away, looks out the window, he reaches over and puts his hand on the back of her neck, warm and delicate. he puts his hand under her chin and he squeezes her cheeks. she hates that, and she tell him so, but he keeps doing it. he is thinking, can't you put up with something so small that i love so much? but he doesn't say it. he never says it.

after a long break, they take a long drive. they stop at random small towns along the coast, and each time, she double checks the street signs to make sure they won't get ticketed, or worse, towed. they were almost towed once. she ran toward the car, already attached to the tow truck, and she begged the driver to stop, to please stop. she waved her arms frantically in the air, and she pleaded with him, and the man listened. she saved the day. she was a woman of action. she wasn't a fatalist, all doom and gloom, the way he was.

the civic witnessed the tender moments, but also all the screaming, slammed doors and cursing. it played them music. it died on them. it made running errands a little more convenient. and now, it serves no purpose. it just sits there in a stuffy garage, thinking about what it all means.

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