The Journey: 2 (Starting Out)
Before snow flew, Summer and Jeff and painted the outside of the old school bus a flat black. The interior took more time, and they worked on it when they could.
“It’s never going to be done,” she lamented from where she was crouched on the floor screwing down plywood.
Jeff, who was usually cheerful stopped what he was doing. He scowled at her. Outside it was just beginning to snow but inside the bus it was cozy. The small wood stove was heating up nicely. “We can finish it as we go,” he declared putting his fists on his hips.
The two kids, Brendan and Saige were on the top bunk in the very back of the bus. “Yeah,” Bren called out. “Let’s leave now.”
“I want to have Christmas on the bus,” Saige added.
“I guess I’m out voted,” Summer sighed. It hadn’t been what she was thinking when she complained.
In short order their house was rented out, most of their belongings put in storage, and the bus, though still needing a lot of work, was packed in every nook and cranny. And off they went.
With Jeff behind the wheel, the bus slowly pulled out of their lane and onto the highway, a ribbon of black stretching south between the stark white snowy fields. In the distance trees rose dark against the sky.
Summer was sitting at the dinette behind Jeff. At first she was watchful, interested in seeing their future unfold before them, but she soon grew bored.
Bren and Saige had retreated to their own bunks, Bren with a book and Saige with her dolls. As the sun rose, the inside of the rolling house grew warm and bright and Summer pulled out her laptop.
“You going to work?” Jeff asked absently.
She gritted her teeth. Everything was relying on her ability to actually sell enough of her artwork to fund this crazy plan. She wasn’t sure she could paint while they drove but she knew she could design other items. She nodded without saying anything, sure he could see her in the huge rear view mirror across the front windshield. She supposed it had originally been for seeing what the school children were up to.
Hours passed, miles were gobbled up under the tires, and still Jeff drove. “When are we going to stop for lunch?” the children whined.
Summer looked up from where she had been, inside the picture developing on her screen. She tilted her head one way and the other, her neck bones crackling. “Jeff, we should think about stopping soon.” She looked at the face of her husband through the huge mirror and he seemed somewhat mesmerized. He never even glanced at her reflection. She snapped her fingers and raised her voice, “honey,” she said,”take the next rest stop exit. We all need to get out and stretch.”
He seemed to mentally shake his head, a subtle movement but she noticed it, mainly because the peculiar look in his eyes seemed to change. “What’s that?” he mumbled, almost sleepily.
She sat forward, on high alert, looking at him sharply. “Are you okay, Jeff?”
He smiled, a little more like himself. “Sure, I’m fine. Just thinking about stuff, I guess.” He put on the blinker and steered toward the off ramp.