Freewrite: The First Story

IMG_6070The First Story

The road ahead was unfamiliar, but that didn’t deter them from driving further; there was family to get to even thought they’d never been this way before.

It was new to Nate and Janice, this visiting their son and his new wife, Astrid and it was the first time they would be traveling along on this mountain road.

They left their suburban Indianapolis home in the late afternoon bound for the Missouri Ozarks, near the Tennesee border. Their son, Phillip was a new school teacher. this was their first Thanksgiving with his parents visiting.

The road was busy until they turned off the Interstate for the lonely country road through some high plains and the town of Chulka, which sat on the gown of the Ozarks.

The night was growing dark and as misfortune would have it the rain began to pelt their Vovlo station wagon.

“Are you sure we should go on,” asked Janice.

“Of course,” he replied, gripping the steering wheel tighter.

“We never been this way.”

“Just like any other road, I suppose.”

They drove for some time in the darkening rain. Janice had turned off the radio, which had been broadcasting NPR, but the dire weather warnings were getting to be too much for her. “Do you mind,” she asked before turning the radio off. Wordlessly, he agreed by shaking his head.

The car’s headlights cut the night into torrents of rain and intermittened darkness.

Their son and his new wife had lived with them in their home for two years before Philip finally got a job; they helped with the down payment on the house and were excited to see their only son off to tackle the world. Both Janice and Nate retired from their teaching jobs a month later as had been in the works for several years. They spent their summer working on a boat, which sat docked in South Haven, Michigan. The fall came and they worked together to covert their house into one they could sell. They’d paid off the mortagage several years ago and were excited with their new life.

“Are you sure?”

Nate turned slightly to look at his wife’s face, which dripped in reflection with the rainwater and shadow from the windshield.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do.” he said.

Janice reached over and gripped Nate’s hand on the steering wheel. “I don’t either.”

They drove on through the darkness, uncertain, going slowly, but continually forward.


Good magazine piece on Freewrite can be found: