In the car, we are all silent. I try to construct the perfect conversation in my head—words that will clue Mom into what is happening, where we are going. Joel makes a wrong turn out of the airport, and we end up circling back to the terminal. I check the rear view mirror and see my brother’s rental car following us. Joel and I exchange glances. I wonder if he feels the way I do—this sense of being trapped in a metaphor when we are with my mother, this constant circling. I’m on alert, waiting to see if Mom notices the airport signs, the lights, the car rental parking lot. When she doesn’t react, I turn around to face her. “So, Mom, can you believe we’re heading to Lake George?”
Street lights send ribbons of glare through the car. Mom smooths the pleats of her skirt with her hand. She speaks softly, “Yes, it’s always so good to get away.” She talks as if this trip is nothing out of the ordinary, as if the whole family hasn’t been planning it for months, as if my sister and I haven’t been worrying over each and every detail, as if the car behind us doesn’t hold my father, brother and two aides from the rest home.
The tires hum on the road as Joel makes the right turn to get onto the highway. I touch my finger on the window to test the outside temperature. The glass is cool and I leave a smudged print. Mom and I have made this trip more times than I can count. Darkness is all around us, but the car feels warm and safe as a womb.
“They’re trying to get at me from under the car?”
Joel and I look at each other and I feel my eyes widen. “What was that, Mom?”
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