We had been on the road for almost five hours before we took a break. We had both been hungry but we luckily had enough snacks in our portable fridge. So we made a little picknick on the truck bed. We had stopped at a greenfield site so that Balu could run around free for a bit without having to worry before we would continue our journey. We haven`t even made it half way.
“Do you think we can make it today?” I asked Scott. He looked at me skeptical.
“I hope so” was his answer.
I hoped so too. I could never sleep as well in a Motel as I could in a Hotel or a house in which only we two were staying. Most times they were noisy and a bit creepy.
“By the way, Martha thought we were married,” he told me, laughing. She started to laugh and added “not just Martha. When I went to the Diner to hand Anny the key back she told her husband what a beautiful couple we are.”
“Did you correct it?” I asked her.
“No, did you?” I shaked my head.
“We should continue driving if we still want to make it today.” She called Balu and secured him on the backseat while I covered up the truck bed. Then we continued to drive.
Meanwhile it had started to become dark and we were still pretty far away from the National Park. There were many trucks driving past us and I noticed Emma cramping up every time they drove past us. After a while I had to stop at a gas station. I wanted to give her a break but didn`t wanted to say it out straight. I filled the pick-up with gas and then drove it to the parking lot before I went to pay.
I asked for the nearest Motel. To the National Park we would need several more hours and I wasn`t sure that Emma could hold it together any longer. She seemed scared and I didn`t know why. I didn`t want to ask. She had been so open for the past days she would tell what was wrong when she wanted to.
While Scott went to pay I had walked Balu a bit over the parking area. I had to get that sound out of my head that a truck makes every time they pass us. Soon the lights would be there as well. I just wanted to arrive at the house. Wanted to have todays journey past me. Wanted to relax. I knew that an accident wasn`t going to happen every time I sat in a car. I knew chances to be the victim of a car accident twice were not as high but I was still scared. I could have told Scott about it. He would have stopped at a Motel and we would have continued our journey the next day but someday I had to make it through this so that everything would become normal again.
I saw Scott coming out of the store and walked back to the car. I secured Balu in the backseat and then took my seat.
We continued to drive. It was completely dark now. The lights of the cars passing by lightened up and then again one of these trucks. There was the bright light that blinded me. My breath went faster. My heartbeat was speeding. I couldn`t breathe. I panicked.
She started to hyperventilate. I couldn`t stop anywhere so I took her hand and started to talk to her calmly.
“Okay Emma, it is okay, just breathe in and breathe out, focus on that, think of the beach, the ocean, the waves, the sound of the ocean, focus on that not on the traffic, focus on the ocean,” I kept talking to her and she calmed down. I stopped at the next Motel and asked her to wait for a moment. Once I had checked in and gotten the keys I went back to get Emma and Balu out of the car. I helped her into the room and set her down on the bed. I then went and left warm water into the bathtub. She would be able to relax in the bath. Then I went through some take away flyers I had taken from the front desk and ordered some food. While she was taking her bath I went outside with Balu and waited for the food to get delivered.
When I came back in with the food in my hands she was leaning over her bag searching for the body lotion wearing a towel. I put the food on the table and then went towards her. I opened the site pocket of her bag and gave her the body lotion.
“Excuse me I am still a bit…” I didn`t know what the right word was, maybe confused, maybe shaken.
“It is fine. There is food so if you want to throw on some clothes.”
I took a T-Shirt out of my bag and some Shorts. I dressed myself in the bathroom quickly and then came back.
I couldn`t really eat. I had the feeling that I had to explain myself at the same time I had the feeling he understood. He had immediately stopped at the next Motel and made me a bath so that I could relax and he had ordered my favorite food.
“Thank you”, was everything I could say right now before I stood up and walked to bed fighting with my tears. I hated it. That I couldn`t control my fear. That I couldn`t control this feeling to not being able to control a thing. I wanted to learn to let go so that it would become easier. Letting go and relaxing was really difficult as I had never learned it. It was unusual today. Today everybody had always everything under control and those that hadn`t were strange. They were so strange that they got abandoned from society. Scott laid down beside me.
“Being angry at yourself for it just makes it worth” he said and took me into his arms. He turned on the TV and started zapping until he had found a movie that fit. An action movie. Perfect for getting out those aggressions as well as laughing. But those movies were also often far away from reality, I thought. After a while I was completely focused on the movie.
She relaxed and had fallen asleep in my arms before the movie had ended. She looked peaceful and smiled in her sleep. What might she be dreaming, I thought when I turned off the TV and went to sleep as well.