I point my video camera at my cousin who’s driving, her eyes on the road but her smile seems to come from the side of her mouth for the benefit of my filming. She’s singing along to the mixed tape that plays over the car stereo and she moves her shoulders back and forth to the beat with three fingers on the bottom of the steering wheel. With a sudden jerk, I focus the camera on my best friend in the backseat who wears heart-shaped sunglasses and a t-shirt with a strawberry on it. She smiles an awkward smile and waves when I tell her to say something. I hit the red button with my thumb, believing that I’ve turned the camera off, but actually I turned it on. Later when I’m watching the video, this is where the television goes dark to varying degrees as the lens bops back and forth again the cotton seat. As we come into heavy traffic in an unfamiliar city, the volume changes from friendly voices and a humming engine to shrieks and swear words of scared little girls. “Watch out!” “Oh, shit!” “Turn here!” And then the traffic thins and I pick up the camera. You see my face for a moment, enough to catch me sighing some relief, and then just as I take a breath to talk, blackness.
*What’s a memorable car trip you’ve taken? Who were you with? Where did you go? Share your story in the comments.*