This afternoon, our heroine finds herself trapped in a small space, but it’s an imprisonment of her own choice. A man sits beside her, and she can hear other people behind her. It smells faintly of feet and elementary school (little kid sweat). There is a large cold beverage for her within reach. Her seat is moderately comfortable, although she would rather be lying down in her own bed. The rays of the sun coming through a window warm one side of her body, but the side of her still in the shade is a bit chilly. She feels cool air gently blowing on her face. Good thing I put on my sweater, she thinks.
Two of the people behind her are digging around noisily in a plastic grocery bag. She doesn’t know what they are doing, and she’s not sure she wants to know. They’ve stopped messing with the bag, and now they’re in a deep discussion about blankets – who has one, who needs one, and who can’t find one. The noise level now is much lower than when she first entered, and she is hopeful that at least half of the people behind her are asleep. The mellow music of Jack Johnson is being piped into the rear part of the space, encouraging sleep for the rest of the people back there.
She longs to be free of the enclosure, but knows that freedom is still at least three hours away. The responsible thing to do would be to stay alert and aware of the goings on around her, but what she wants to do is try to find a comfortable position and sleep the hours away. She doesn’t want to listen to Jack Johnson, nor to chattering of the people behind her. One person in particular is vocal in his protestations and complaints about their current situation, in addition his incessantly pestering the person beside him, who is trying to sleep.
She looks out the window in front of her and sees long stretches of nothing. Flatness. It reminds her of little kids’ drawings, how they make the sky and earth meet in a straight line close to the bottom of the page. They sky here is large and there are no clouds today, making the empty expanse feel even bigger.
There is no imminent danger to her or her fellow prisoners, but she desperately wants to be free. That is, until she realizes that she has to put away all of the things the man managed to wedge into every available square inch in the space not occupied by the people. He was determined to make everything fit, and there is nowhere, save his spot, that boasts empty space.
Would you like to see her view when she finally looked behind her?
Six people + Christmas with both sides of the family = SUV full of stuff and people. At least it was only a 4-hour drive home.