The Car Rides

Sometimes they’d let the radio sing the silence away, other times their laughter did the work, but in the car rides from town to city there was no certainty of peace.
Inside the silver vessel, a different type of silence had slivered in.
Not a breath could be heard from the girl sitting in the passenger seat, even though the black leather burned almost as much as her temper did. She could feel her mother’s intense gaze switching from the road to her, but she wouldn’t meet her eyes. To acknowledge her presence would be to forgive, and that wouldn’t happen with the wound still fresh.
The fingers tapped faster on the steering wheel, the silence had become too strong for the mother to stand. Brave as she was, she felt too much, and the tears began to roll down.
“I’m sorry. I made a mistake. I’m so sorry.”
Hands had naturally clenched into fists. With their bubble of forced peace disrupted, there was nothing to do but for the daughter to finally spoke.
“How many times have I told you already that I don’t like it when you do that?”
There was no reminiscence of warmth in her voice.
“I’m sorry,” the mother said again.
“How many more times are you going to make the same mistake?!”
Whatever other outcome could have come out of the conversation, pleasant or otherwise, ended right then and there.
From her peripheral vision, she could see her mother was the one looking away now. Her fingers had long since stopped their tapping dance. The stillness elongated, the seconds passed, and nothing changed. Nothing at all.
The harder the daughter stared at her mother’s crying face, the more she started to think that the car rides were a necessary evil in order to get to their destination; to the place where they would fix her inside.
Because she realized that even as she watched her mother suffer, she felt nothing, and that scared her more than anything.
Even more than the voices controlling her own misery.