“Hard to say really after all these years,” George spoke with little conviction and added a small and desperate smile.
The girl laughed, the interior of the car echoing with her amusement. Her laughter trickled over her features like bright and bubbling water and lit up the crevices on Georges’ face that he had allowed to be darkened by the memory of Marietta.
“I hope you don’t say that in front of her,” the girl unfurled herself, throwing her back against the seat and stretching out her legs, her face carrying that same multi-purpose, all-encompassing smile.
George was compelled to smile back, drinking her in like the hot sweet tea he had craved and never received and feeling it quench even the arid spot buried deep in his chest.
The scenery rolled by, the names of cities changing as they were left behind and replaced by the countdown to new ones. George eased into the task of driving, one hand carelessly guiding the steering wheel, the other resting on the gear stick, as the girl, lulled by the engine and the restored comfort of silence, fell into her own thoughts. From the corner of his eye he continued to watch her, pulling his focus from the tedium of the motorway to trace every curve of youth and promise as she slipped closer to sleep, her long fingers playing with the silver chain around her neck.