The night and the road droned endlessly. She was surprised and thankful fatigue was no where near. The conversation with Shane had amped her, zapping away every drop of weariness she had felt before the nasty exchange. Thankfully, Lucy, who woke when she got back into the car, fell back asleep after a drink of water and Clara’s special lullaby.
Her wide-awake state, the emptiness of the road, and the quiet car gave her too much time in her own head. Her mind jumped from her anger and fear of Shane, to resentment and more anger toward her sister, then off to regret and self-loathing for falling for a jerk like Shane to begin with, then, the observations of everyone else. She didn’t want the judgmental brand “Abused Wife.” Rather if she were to be branded she would rather be judged “Survivor,” or”Savvy.”
Another four hours driving and pangs of hunger gnawed. She started to look for mile markers and signs for the next town. She watched for overpasses with off ramps where signs were often posted on the on ramp side. A few attentive miles paid off when a familiar box of green, numbers and letters like blinding beams announced 12 miles to Hamilton. She had no idea what to expect, but decided it was time for a break.
Fifteen minutes later, Clara drove into a little hamlet and passed a 24-hour Denny’s. Further on, a raucous, rowdy bar with the harmless, yet titillating name “Millie’s Tavern” slid past. She drove on and passed quiet storefronts and empty side streets. Other than Millie’s, Hamilton was the quintessential sleepy town. She turned around in the elementary school parking lot and headed back to Denny’s.
She parked and shut the car off. Her legs tingled and ears rang slightly from the absence of road noise. Lucy sat up, bleary eyed and disoriented.
“Mommy? Where are we?”
“Are you hungry Button? I’m starving! Let’s go have pancakes, OK?”
“Yay! With strawberries?”
Trifecta’s (post 33-333 words) word this week, third definition is:
1a : a charred piece of wood
b : firebrand
c : something (as lightning) that resembles a firebrand
3a (1) : a mark made by burning with a hot iron to attest manufacture or quality or to designate ownership
(2) : a printed mark made for similar purposes : trademark
b (1) : a mark put on criminals with a hot iron
(2) : a mark of disgrace : stigma <the brand of poverty
Write at the Merge (a now defunct site) provided the photo “Millie’s Tavern” and a song by The Beastie Boys. I chose inspiration from the photo only. Post is to be done with a word limit of no more than 500 words.