The words over at Three Word Wednesday are argue, lick and squint.
Barreling across the high plains in a rented Ford POS, I’m silently sure Laine is doing her upmost best to hit every hole and uneven spot on the Interstate in an effort to dislodge some sort of an apology from my now-clenched lips.
She squints into the distance, the afternoon sun harsh through intermittent thin, gray clouds. I would say something about putting on her sunglasses, but I don’t want to argue. Not again.
She’s been silent now for some 167 miles. And in that time, I’ve picked at my jeans and licked my lips. A lot.
We’re on our way to her parent’s house in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. Yeah, I don’t know where that is, either.
We’re going for Easter weekend.
Laine was raised in a strict Christian home; her dad is some sort of elder in the church or something.
I’m a lapsed Catholic. Something of an agnostic if you really want to know the truth, a turn that transpired after watching my dad die in a hospital bed from lung cancer, unable to speak and in considerable agony.
And the man went to church every single fucking day.
Laine informed me, as we crossed the border into South Dakota, that I’d be required to go to Easter sunrise service. At dawn. In some field. In Minnesota, for chrissakes.
My dad was fond of saying that people shouldn’t discuss politics and religion in all social situations, since he was something of a racist homophobe conservative Republican and his offspring all turned into varying degrees of liberal activism. Of course, I remember he started saying this only after he made my sister openly weep. At Easter dinner, come to think of it.
Laine and I bickered for a good 90 miles – and passed up Wall Drug and all its kitschy glory and maple-glazed doughnuts – in the process.
So I did what I’m seriously good at: I let her make one last snarky comment as I fell silent, letting the plains rush by the windows as I licked my lips and picked at my jeans.
Now she’s bouncing us around in the Ford so I’ll confess that I’m wrong about God and religion - and life, probably – and get a promise that I’ll be on my upmost behavior while she’s sequestered in her childhood bedroom – and I’m riding the sofa in her parent’s “rumpus room.”
We’re coming up on the South Dakota/Minnesota border and in the distance there’s a huge fireworks sign that rises from the prairie. I purse my lips, take in a deep breath and speak:
“Hey, seriously, we need to stop for some Easter fireworks. We have to pull over.”
“Well, if you’d like to know, I celebrate the Resurrection with some Roman candles. Maybe a few fountains. Certainly some bottle rockets.”
She swallows a laugh that sounds a lot like “gurk.” That’s my girl.
“You celebrate the Resurrection with fireworks?”
“Oh absolutely. It’s a known fact that God loves himself one helluva rave. I like to put the boom-boom into His rebirth.”
She shakes her head in mock disgust, takes her hand off the gear shift and weaves her fingers into mine as we hurdle past the last exit in South Dakota.
“You’re a shit,” she says. “And you had better not embarrass me this weekend.”
“As God is my witness...”