THE NIGHT WAS VERY DARK AND VERY DAMP, a strange eerie feeling permeated throughout the air, leaving the entire atmosphere somewhat frightening.
The landscaping was drenched in dew, left from last night’s sprinkle. The air had an after rain aroma that smelt nice through the slightly opened window.
However, the dark was something I did not approve of, I hated the dark. Everything about this night shouted catastrophic.
A fog swept over the landscaping obstructing my vision, alienating everything in sight. The full moon scared me, squinting through the tree tops-------peeking like a child would when they found something interesting to play with on Christmas Eve-------giving an illusion of light on everything it touched, being the night’s only trepidation. I tapped at the thick sheet of plastic that encased my gas meter-------making the needle shiver ever so slightly------- which signified a dead end to my journey.
Great! Almost out of gas, exactly what I needed right now, I knew I had to stop somewhere for fuel before my car tugged along slow enough to be consider a safety hazard-------on this very long and very deserted-------stretch of highway.
There was no form of life anywhere to be seen, no cars, no animals, nothing but swaying trees, the fierce howls of wolves in a distance, and my own engine running. I was a hundred percent positive I had taken a wrong turn somewhere. The reasons why I was so certain were that, first-------well you know when you get that gut feeling in the pit of your stomach telling you turn the other way-------and yet you don’t and you follow a hundred and ninth like a blind incompetent, insane, normal human being would do. Well I guess I’m that blind person! Secondly, I had felt like a complete idiot, when I realized I’d passed the same sign twice.
My optimism was wearing thin, when I noticed the sign I had passed said Tampa Bay Florida: next exit. Excluding the fact that I was driving around in circles I gave up trying, and pulled in to a gas station that, also out of stupidity and blindness, I had also passed, and decided to ask for directions. It was not easy driving at night, especially when you’re so prone to accidents, that even the dark can be treacherous.
Despair momentarily vanished; wonder took its place.
I absentmindedly got out of the car and took a deep long breath, calming the eerie sensation that crawled up my spin and opened the gas tank. I kicked at the nozzle disengaging it from its shaft, placing it in the tank, and lifted the handle, and locked the nozzle into position. My eyes wandered for a few seconds scanning the scene around me. There was nothing but trees, howling wolves in the distance-------which scared me more than anything-------and a long stretch of highway with absolutely no traffic, for an equivalent of three tenths of a second, if I were lucky. And a small convenience store which dislodged itself at least four meters away from the gas pumps.
I put on my best martyr face, groaned and dragged myself four meters towards the convenience store, making a judgmental attempt not to handicap myself along the way and swiftly made my way to the open door.
Food seemed to be somewhat of an importance, somewhere along the line, as I ambled my way awkwardly through some tightly arranged aisles, to the back of the store. I opened an elongated cooler, which was rusted and very old, and pulled out a coke, then made my way back through the aisles snagging a bag of chips along the way, not caring what flavour it was.
I wasn’t necessarily hungry but I knew I might need it later on. While I made my way to the front of the store-------the sound of the elevator music that played gingerly in the background irked my frustration, making me feel even more uncomfortable. I placed my items gently on top the counter, and sighed deeply, and pointed to my car hiding behind the gas pump.
“Hi!” a strange boy retorted.
I smiled a prolonged smile, without replying. The boy seemed bemused by my lack of communication and quietly totalled my order. He stood motionless behind the counter; I looked at him wearily, while his fingers diligently typed away at his computer. He was a very tall and slender young man, with thick straggly ink black hair weaved into a matted formation on top his head-------which looked like a raggedy old mop, if you asked me, and despite the multiple facial piercings; his faced carried a boyish figure to it.
His clothes lacked in the fashion department dramatically though, his pants were almost at knee level, and his shirt displayed many small holes which looked like it’s been stashed away for centuries. Slob! I thought to myself; I laughed at my quirky judgment.
“So... are you lost?” he asked, smug, a smile spread across his face.
Self-consciously I stared at him dumbfounded; I clasped my hands around my purse and pressed my lips together in a hard line, trying not to laugh at his sloppy figure. I tried to be as polite and courteous as possible before I spoke. My relatively large vocabulary didn’t quite emerge to the surface like I wanted it too, so I threw out the first thing that came to mind, without even thinking.
“Umm... I am somewhat lost! I think I took a wrong turn on a hundred and ninth, I’m trying to find the road that leads east to Tampa.” I announced.
“At this time of night...” he retorted, sarcastically, “...you must be crazy!” He said staring at me for a brief second before bursting into a rumble of laughter that echoed through the entire store.
Ouch! That was cold, I was about to fumigate him with a few choice words, when my purse suddenly started to vibrate. My cell phone jabbed violent against my side, as I scrimmaged through my purse to find it. I forgot I had that thing!
After a few seconds of frantic digging, I remembered I had not paid yet, so I threw down a credit card, and continued feverishly searching for my phone again.
After fighting with my purse-------I swear I looked like a frantic chicken with its head cut off from the way I was searching for my cell phone-------I finally find it lurking under the heap of unknowns that sheltered itself in the bottomless pit of my new Gucci purse. I had bought this large and expensive beast at the ‘Duty Free’, in the airport. It cost me more than my cell phone, I needed something to stash all my unnecessary essentials in. I should’ve just thrown away my cell phone when I had the chance-------but no, somehow it miraculously salvaged itself into the stomach of this large monster, I shouldn’t have bought the damn purse in the first place.
I fumbled with the phone trying to open it, “Hello?” I stammered.
“Hey baby sister! Where are you...” it was my brother, relief swept over me when I heard his sweet, angelic voice, echo through the receiver, “...are you lost?” he managed to include. He knew I was lost and felt the need to taunt me and rub it in. Like usual!
“What makes you think I am lost?” I asked, teasingly.
Silence dwelled on the other end, before his abrupt bellow of laughter reverberated against my ear. I deliberated whether I should yell at him, shut my phone and cut him off, or scream my lungs off until one of them burst.
Seriously! What was so funny? Whatever he found hilarious I found rather cynical; I clicked the phone shut.
I grabbed my credit card, my bag of miscellaneous items, and was about to make my way out of the store when my phone sadistically forced itself to the surface again. I should’ve just thrown my phone on the ground and stomped on it like a vindictive monster, but instead I answered it, because I was stupid.
I didn’t want my brother to worry either!
I rolled my eyes and clicked the green button.
“What?” I shouted.
“You’re lost aren’t you..?” he stage-whispered.
I lied. “No! I am not lost! I just stopped at a gas station for a snack and fuel. Got a problem with that?” I asked, in a fearless tone. I knew I wasn’t winning this battle, but somehow it felt good arguing with my brother, it meant I was almost close to my destination. Now I just had to figure out how to get there, that’s all.
“Sis seriously if your lost, I could send someone to escort you in the right direction,” he proposed, after a few moments of silence.
I knew it! He was making fun of me, despite the fact he was in a car accident and semi-handicapped—well considering his brain is fully handicapped; he should be suffering not laughing at my lack of direction. After all I was bound to end up causing some form of havoc outside these walls. So why stop now?
“Like I said...” I interrupted him before he tried to say another word, “... I am not lost; I just took a wrong turn! That’s all.” I protested, satisfied with my white lie.