The Drive

Photo via Pinterest.

Sara forced herself to relax her grip on the steering wheel. When did the mechanics of breathing become hard for her? She couldn’t remember the day she lost her focus, but she remembered the first time he hit her.

The memory was seared into her mind. His steak had been overcooked. She was 19 years old, newly married to the first boy who had shown an interest, and she had never made dinner for anyone. He was a construction worker with clear blue eyes, charming as hell. Their fights became familiar, his fist on her back, her thighs, her stomach, three year’s of bruises that would never be seen.

When they weren’t fighting she got gifts. On his construction workers salary, they were sometimes expensive.

More memories threatened to push her out of the old dusty rental and onto the side of the California highway. Sara recalled being stared silently down across polished divorce lawyer tables, his mother calling her an unfit wife and a disgrace, her sister holding her every night as she cried for her failed marriage and failed life.

The day she had confessed to her family that her husband hit her, Sara’s illusions about life faded. She became involved with other men who treated her badly. She stayed at a job which paid her poorly. She floated, barely holding on to her life, until twenty years later she read his obituary online.

Now she was going. She had spent close to $100 she didn’t have to rent a car and make the seven hour drive to a funeral she wasn’t invited to. When her sister had pressed her for a reason she said she wanted to make sure he was dead. She should have told her sister the truth, that she needed to make sure she wasn’t dead.

The road went on. Sara’s breathing evened out. She had stumbled on the news of his death by accident and turned it into her purpose. She had five more hours in the car. She turned on the radio and sang along, feeling driven and hopeful.

This week’s prompt from Write on Edge was a road trip. We were asked to write a piece of fiction or creative non-fiction taking place on the road in 300 words or less.

I kept going back and forth with ideas on this prompt and I’m not sure I like what I ended up with, but having not written anything in the last two weeks I thought I should get something down. I also went slightly over word count (345). Oops.

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13 Responses

  1. Interesting! I like it – like you said, sometimes we just have to get words on paper!

    I think your character is compelling and we learn a lot about her history in his a short period of time.

    My favorite part, though, is the your opening: “Sara forced herself to relax her grip on the steering wheel. When did the mechanics of breathing become hard for her?”

    Without ever needing to tell your reader what is going on, I get a masterful image of girl on the edge of something big. Well done!

    • Yes this was one of those days when I didn’t care to write, didn’t have an idea I loved, but knew I had to do it anyway.

  2. “feeling driven and hopeful”– I love this phrase and I love that you ended it this way. I want to read more of her story… got anymore?? 🙂

    • No more of this one but I’m sure I have more writing wrapped inside my brain. Somewhere deep in there somedays. LOL.

  3. Oh my…this was really powerful. I’d love to know what happened when she got there…this is a really great character and story!

    • Thanks so much Amanda. Maybe I’ll end up revisiting this at a later date. Today I’m not too excited about it but with some cleaning up there does look like there’s a longer story in this.

  4. Oh this is nice. I like the way you turn “driving” into “being driven” in the last paragraph.

    Thanks for linking up! (mine’s here, if you’re interested: http://thecolorlime.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/to-flathead-lake-300/)

  5. There’s a lot of emotion in this. I think my fav part is this: “When her sister had pressed her for a reason she said she wanted to make sure he was dead. She should have told her sister the truth, that she needed to make sure she wasn’t dead.”

    I hope this will give her closure and allow her to move forward in her life finally.

    • Thank you for your comment Carrie!

  6. I loved this. I was a social worker who worked with domestic violence victims and this rings absolutely true. I can feel her struggle and her hope. Really good job.

    • I was hoping the writing/character sounded “authentic”. Thank you so much for your comment!

  7. Wow, this is a great piece of writing, the word that comes to my mind is ‘strong’. I really liked this. 🙂

    • Thank you!

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