A feeling of déjà vu washed over Grace as she stood on the shoulder of I-40, a dead car behind her, the afternoon sun baking the tops of her feet through her thin canvas shoes, the gritty air heavy with the smell of exhaust and hot tires. She may as well be back in Arkansas instead of the middle of New Mexico. Except this time she wasn't in a panic and the car on the side of the Interstate wasn't stolen.
A stout breeze caught the long, narrow tent bag, swung it around and nearly twisted it out of her grip. She had no idea why she offered to carry the silly thing, other than to avoid more tension in an already tense situation. Her purse strap dug into her shoulder. She squished her hat down tight to keep it from blowing off in the wind kicked up by passing traffic. Ray stood beside her, a suitcase in one hand, a sleeping bag in the other. The cowboy hat fit him better than it did his son, the brim shading his eyes and giving him a bit of a Clint Eastwood squint. Benny stood next to him with his own suitcase and the other sleeping bag, his three-pointed hat sitting at a jaunty angle – a hitchhiking pirate in cargo shorts and a Terminator t-shirt.
Grace couldn't help it. She took in the picture they made, the three of them together, and laughed.
Benny and Ray looked at her like she'd lost her mind.
"Ain't we a sight," she said.
A slow smile drew one side of Ray's mouth up. "Yeah, I suppose we are."
"Think we'll have to stand out here long?"
"Not long." He looked over her shoulder as he spoke.
Grace turned to see an orange tractor trailer rig slowing, its right signal flashing.
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