“All right, let me just get a few things,” My boyfriend tells the policeman.
“Where could we go?” I ask my boyfriend, “I don’t want to be with my mom.”
“If you don’t want to go there, we can go to the country and visit my family.”
“Are you sure?”
“What other choice do we have?”
I then grab my purse, smartphone and charger. My boyfriend grabs his composition books, flash drives, rechargeable flashlight, phone and charger.
We step out the front door and my boyfriend locks it behind us. We then cut across his front yard and he locks the gate.
We get in the car and it thankfully fires right up.
We begin to travel and my boyfriend turns on the radio where he learns that this was indeed a terrorist attack.
Something called contraflow is being used on all the highways out of the city. We are stuck in traffic.
There are cops everywhere. I’m glad that I just made eighteen more than ever.
For forty-five minutes the traffic crawls. I rest my head on his shoulder and he kisses my forehead repeatedly.
Finally, we are moving.
“Once we get out of the city, I should get us some coffee and food. I need something to keep me awake.”
“Sure, do what you need to do.”
We are now out of the city and on the Interstate. Thank God, the traffic is now moving.
But now my boyfriend is taking an exit to a dark highway.
“Looks like we are safe now, but why are you getting off right here?”
“Because I don’t want to take the chance of someone wrecking or breaking down. If that happens, traffic will back up and the terrorists could possibly strike again,” He replies.
“I hope you know what you’re doing.”
“Look, I am trying my best. You must know that I am just trying to get us out of harm’s way.”
“I guess.” I am irritated with him right now, but I still love him with all my heart.
“Let’s not fight, if we do the terrorists have another victory.”
“Yes, thank God we weren’t away from each other when this happened.”
“You’re right! I would rather die with you than live and us be apart!”
“I love you so much!”
“And I love you too, baby!”
“How much longer from here?”
“About four hours.”
“Yes, I just hope and pray my car won’t break down.”
“What’s your family like?”
“Let’s just say interesting.”
“I hope they will accept me but I’m afraid of what they will think of my mom’s pill habit.”
“Don’t worry, they’ll accept you. They always wanted me to find love and now I have because of you. They just might tease you about being from the city.”
“What about the pills? Would they judge me about that?”
“No, they won’t. My family has always taught me that no one is perfect and that we all have faults. Plus, you’re not the addict; your mom is.”
“What’s your hometown like?”
“Boring, flat and quiet. I guess that is a good thing at the moment. It’s not an important place, so the terrorists wouldn’t try to strike there.”
“So you think we’ll be safe there?”
“Yes, there is only a two-lane highway in and out of town and there are no waterways, railroads are airstrips. It’s nothing a terrorist would want to hit.”
“You should call your parents first, to let them know you are coming.”
“You’re right. I was going to, but you know I should conserve my minutes, especially for my job.”
“I don’t think you will be returning to work for a while and, to me, that’s a very good thing. Besides, you can use my phone.”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course. I love you and would do anything for you.”
“Oh, I love you too baby! Thank you so much.”
I turn on my phone, then he calls out the ten digits.
I turn the speaker on and we hear the ringing.
“Hello.” His mother answers, half asleep.
“Hey, momma it’s me. There has been a terrorist attack in my city and I am headed your way. Put the news on, you’ll hear all about it.” I reply.
“Are you all right?”
“Yes. I am fine, but I have someone special with me.”
“Whom do you have?”
“My girlfriend. I will explain everything when we arrive.”
“Okay, be careful.”
“I sure will.”
“How much longer until you’ll be here?”
“If everything goes right, about four to five hours. As soon as we find a truck stop, I will get some, food and coffee to keep me awake.”
“Okay, you drive safe and I will see you then. I can’t wait to meet this lovely young lady.”
Suddenly the signal fades out.
“Momma, can you hear me?” “Durn it.”
“Your mom seems nice.”
“Oh, she is very nice. I wish I could see her more.”
“It’s a good thing she is not like my mom.”
“The worst she does is take a shot of whiskey every now and then. It’s only to help her sleep.”
My boyfriend continues to drive. It is cold and dark. I snuggle next to him and we keep warm.
There’s a truck stop on our left. My boyfriend turns off the road and pulls up to a pump.
We then go inside to pay the cashier.
I pull out my debit card and say, “Let me pay. My dad deposited grocery money in my account, but I think we need gas more than groceries right now.”
“Thank you so much, baby! I wish I could repay you!”
I tell him, “It’s the least I can do. By the way, when we get back home, you can repay me all night long!” Then, I tell the cashier, “Forty Dollars on pump five.”
Blushing, she says, “Y’all are so cute.” She then runs my card.
We go out to pump the gas, then come back after we’re done.
My boyfriend asks the cashier, “Is your restaurant open?”
“Well, we were going to close, but could sure use the business.” She pauses then calls the waitress. “There are some customers, don’t shut down just yet.”
We walk into the diner and the waitress greets us.
“What’ll it be?” She asks.
My boyfriend looks at me and says, “Tell her.”
“I would like some strawberry pancakes if that’s all right.”
“Sure. And for you?” She asks my boyfriend.
“Whatever sandwich you can make. And coffee-lot’s of it,” He replies.
“Where are y’all from?”
“The city south-east of here. There was a terrorist attack and we are refugees,”
“A terrorist attack?” She asks.
“Yes. Turn your TV on. You’ll learn all about it,” My boyfriend tells her.
“Can’t. Cable’s out.” She replies.
“Well, these extremist bastards, excuse my language, purposely derailed a train right where the transmission lines cross the tracks. That caused a chemical release and the power in most of the city is out.”
“Good Lord, that’s awful.”
“Yes. And it’s her eighteenth birthday.” He tells the waitress.
The waitress looks at me and says, “Well since it is your birthday, y’all both eat free. Y’all have seen enough hell for tonight and it’s the least we can do.”
“Thank you so much; I surely appreciate that.” My boyfriend tells her.
“Yes, y’all are both welcome. Just tell any travelers about this place when you can.”
“I just hope and pray that you’ll get more refugee customers coming from the city, but most are probably on the Interstate. I took a back road so we wouldn’t be caught in all that traffic.”
We happily eat and converse with the waitress and then we get coffee to go.
“Here’s a thermal mug with our company name on it. Tell everyone you can about us.” The waitress says.
“I sure will,” My boyfriend says.
“Come back if you’re ever passing through again and we’ll take care of y’all.”
We leave the truck stop and get back on the highway. I fall asleep on his shoulder.
I wake up as he pulls into his parents’ driveway. We step out of the car and my boyfriend rings the doorbell.
His mom greets us.