Even before she’s out of the city, Laura gets her memory sensors flung into overdrive. Racing to make the light that sends them up the winding road to Vallvidreira, she feels her cheeks flush with the effort of ignoring so much accumulated past.
‘Geez, Mom, chill, will ya?’ Annie doesn’t bother to glance up from her mp3, a frown of disparagement locked in place by the third turn.
‘It’s not me, it’s this road,’ Laura says. ‘These curves are a bitch.’ She downshifts into a one-eighty degree turn to the left, then guns it up a short straightaway. Out past the city limits, she settles into the drive, leaning into curves she hasn’t seen in fifteen years like she took them yesterday. The body is a strange creature, remembering things the mind would much prefer to forget. She would rather be checking street signs, just following directions to her kid’s party at a strange house in an unfamiliar town. Instead, she takes the long way around to go past David and Consuelo’s cottage. She hasn’t been here in years, not since the kids got into that silly fight. The excuses pile up. Before you can blink, a decade has passed and you don’t know how to make a breezy phone call. Too many ghosts haunt the line.
Laura finds the house on the second try.
“I thought you knew this place like the back of your hand,” says the daughter who isn’t paying attention.
Laura bites her tongue.
“It’s nice out here,” Laura says as she gets out of the car and pointedly does not lock it.
“Aren’t you gonna lock the car?”
Does she know her daughter or what?
“No one’s gonna steal this shitbox out here.”
Annie stops three paces from the gate.
‘Don’t you have somewhere to go?’
Laura tries to disguise her sudden intake of breath.
‘Yeah. I do.’
Her daughter disappears behind a tall metal door. Laura crosses her arms and leans against the car, jiggles the keys.
333 words including BITCH (noun) 3: something that is extremely difficult, objectionable, or unpleasant