Below Joshua the city spanned the azure horizon. He wished it felt like home here, that the kids at school didn’t make fun of him. He couldn’t help that he didn’t speak English well. He’d lived outside of Beijing almost his entire thirteen years.
Even though his English was improving, the kids in his classes still teased him, mimicked his Asian accent. Joshua didn’t understand why they made fun of him, specifically. There were many kids of diverse ethnicities in his classes. The difference was they’d been born here, or had picked up English as toddlers.
When some of the bigger boys punched and pushed him around one day at school, Joshua ran home immediately. There were tears running down his cheeks and he was embarrassed to be crying. He wasn’t surprised when his legs took him to his favorite place in the city. Joshua had found it one day wandering the streets and deserted buildings close to where he lived.
As he presently stood on the corner of the brightly spray painted building, he swore to never cry again. No matter how much the other kids teased him, no matter how badly they bruised him; Joshua would show them he was stronger.
Kelly Clarkson – “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)
Twilight fades and darkness overtakes the sun. It’s difficult to see at night in the winter when there isn’t much snow. Those glistening piles such as frozen clouds, usually manage to catch the moon’s radiant glow. But tonight the only light outside is a crescent moon and far above, the glimmering stars.
The lights on the dashboard flicker on and I gaze at you behind the wheel, humming softly to yourself as you continue our drive in an ink dark night. I can see from your face you’re exhausted.
“Please let me drive for you? At least a couple of hours so you can sleep, Tye?”
You roll your eyes at me in the relative darkness in the inside of our car, “You don’t drive well enough. You only drive to the grocery store and a short distance to work. You don’t have experience driving on icy highways at night, Cara” Tye looks at me waiting for me to respond.
Finally I peep, “When I took my drivers lessons, we drove on icy snowy highways. I drive all around the city,” I inform him. “Highways aren’t my favorite but you’re falling asleep at the wheel and I can handle driving until we reach Red Deer. The roads are deserted and I’m going to be driving straight and making sure I stay a good distance behind any other vehicle I come across.”
Tye nods and bites his lip. I can tell he has no energy to argue with me. “I do need the sleep badly. When we get to Red Deer let’s stop and stay at a hotel for the night, okay Cara?” I smile at Tye in agreement and watch him pull the car over to the side of the highway to trade seats wih me.
I start to drive and at first I can see he’s a bit frightened for me and frankly so am I. But eventually Tye realizes I can keep up the speed on the highway and that I’m driving well, keeping my eyes on the road.
At one moment I feel the car wiggle and slide over an ice patch but I pump the breaks and I drive the car without incident again. I wonder if he noticed my dangerous slip, but peering to my side I see Tye is sound asleep.
My poor guy, I think running my one hand through his hair as we reach Red Deer. I park the car near a decent hotel. The Best Western appears newer and well taken care of. Tye rubs his eyes when I gently shake him awake.
When we are finally in our room I shower and I’m surprised when he joins me. “So, we’re talking again I guess? You’re not mad at me anymore?” I ask Tye.
He holds me from behind, curving his body into mine and sighing in my wet hair. He kisses my cheek, “I don’t want to fight with you Cara. I want us to us again. I don’t like that your ex kissed you, but I thought about it the entire time we’ve been driving home from the mountains. You didn’t initiate the kiss and your friends said the same thing. My buddies agreed with them too. The whole situation made me so angry, I can’t even explain it.”
I nod and rest my head back on Tye’s bare shoulder, “I would never, you know that? But I can’t explain things to you if you won’t communicate with me. We could’ve solved this back in the mountains and skipped the tense ride home. I didn’t mean to make you jealous. I punched my ex for hitting on me after you went back to the hotel still foaming at the mouth,” I say with a proud smirk.
Tye strokes my cheek and kisses my lips, “Punched him, hey? I’m so happy to hear you did. I wanted to morethan punch him before I cooled down. It’s all forgotten, Cara. But I think we could both use some extra distractions just in case.”
I giggle and turn around so I’m flush against Tye, “Okay, let’s completely wipe our minds clear of the past couple of days.”
The night became one of our most memorable nights together.