‘You know, I’m glad we did this,’ I smiled at Julie. She smiled back at me from the driver’s seat, seemingly endless trees whipping past her.
‘Me too,’ she said, squeezing my hand. ‘We managed to have fun in the end.’
‘And all the way to Toowoomba!’ I laughed.
‘The whole country,’ she smiled, sadly. I noticed her expression and frowned.
Her knuckles tightened their grip around the steering wheel, as she took a deep breath.
‘I’m just… is it really over?’
She looked back at me with damp eyes, then quickly ducked her head to play with the air conditioning instead.
‘Jules,’ I started, reaching over to touch her shoulder. ‘We’ve been on the road for four weeks.’
‘I know,’ she sighed. ‘I know. I’m just… I’m not ready for it to end.’
I nodded, knowing how she felt. We sat in silence, watching the trees. Suddenly, I had an idea.
‘Oh god, can you believe it?’ I half-shouted at the windshield. She looked at me, confused.
‘The engine!’ I cried, winking at her. ‘I can’t believe it just exploded like that!’
A slight smile tugged at the corner of her mouth. ‘I guess this car must be due for its log book service!’
She was playing along!
Still smiling, Julie slowly checked her mirrors to make sure we were really alone on the road, then carefully pulled the vehicle to the left, into the emergency stopping zone.
‘Damn it!’ I grinned as we drifted to a light stop. ‘This is gonna ruin our plans!’
‘We’re gonna need to find a good mechanics near Toowoomba!’
We burst out laughing, holding each other’s hands over the gearbox. ‘I wouldn’t want to break down with anyone else,’ I smiled at her.
‘Nobody else,’ she nodded.
We sat there, in that perfectly functional car, for hours, waiting for an imaginary tow truck and reminiscing about just how wild a ride it had been.