Moving Forward Together

Submitted into Contest #211 in response to: End your story with two characters reconciling.... view prompt



Marley fought back a yawn. She had already been driving for five hours but knew she had another three to go. She glanced over to the passenger seat, where Clara was fast asleep. She and her sister had agreed to take turns driving so they wouldn't have to find a place to stay during the twenty-hour drive they had in front of them.

As Marley continued down the long, empty stretch of highway, her thoughts drifted to her sister. Clara had been distant lately, and Marley couldn't figure out why. Was it because of the divorce? Marley knew that the end of Clara's marriage had hit her hard, but she also knew something else was happening.

Marley was lost in thought when she felt the car start to drift. She quickly corrected it, but the sudden movement jostled Clara awake. "What's going on?" Clara yawned, blinking her eyes open.

"Sorry, I just let my mind wander for a second," Marley yawned. "Are you ready to take over driving for a bit?"

Clara nodded, and the two sisters pulled over to switch seats. Marley grabbed a few Skittles from the bag they'd been sharing and stared out the window as her sister started to drive. She had flown to Massachusetts so that her sister could bring her own car down to Florida, where the two would share a home until Clara could get settled.

Marley watched the scenery blur by as they drove along the empty highway, the sun setting in the distance. She couldn't help but notice how Clara's hands tightly gripped the steering wheel, her knuckles turning white. Marley knew that Clara had always been a safe and responsible driver, but there was something different about the way she was driving now. 

Marley decided to break the silence. "Hey, Clara, are you okay?" she asked, her voice soft.

There was a long pause before Clara finally spoke. "I'm fine," she replied curtly, her gaze fixed on the road ahead.

Marley didn't believe her for a second. She knew her sister was hurting but didn't know how to help. "Is there something you want to talk about?" Marley asked, trying to sound as gentle as possible.

Clara let out a long sigh. "It's just been tough, Marley. I feel like everything good in my life disappeared overnight."

Marley took a deep breath and forced a smile towards her sister. "I don't think things have been good for a while, but I hope this move will bring you all the great things you deserve."

Clara let out a small, sad smile. "I hope so, too," she said before turning her attention back to the road. 

Marley noticed her sister's grip on the steering wheel had relaxed slightly, but she still looked tense. She decided to change the subject. "Hey, do you remember those road trips we used to take with mom and dad when we were kids?" she asked.

Clara's eyes lit up a little. "Of course I do. We used to play I-Spy and sing along to the radio all the time," she chuckled.

Marley smiled. "Yeah, those were the days," she said wistfully. 

"Remember when we went to the Grand Canyon, and you were too afraid to stand close to the edge?"

Clara rolled her eyes. "Oh, shut up. You were scared, too," she teased.

Marley laughed. "Okay, maybe a little," she admitted. 

The two sisters continued to reminisce as they continued on their journey. The conversation started flowing naturally for the first time in several years. Before either sister knew it, three more hours had passed.

Clara took an exit off the highway, hoping to find somewhere to get some food and a few cups of late-night coffee.

As they drove through the nearest town, Marley noticed a neon sign that read "The Midnight Café." "Hey, what do you think about stopping there?" Marley pointed to the sign.

Clara shrugged. "Sure, why not?" 

The café was a small, cozy spot with a few tables scattered around the room and a counter at the front. The air was thick with the smell of coffee and baked goods. Marley and Clara took a seat at a booth near the window.

A waitress approached them, a friendly smile on her face. "What can I get for you two tonight?"

Marley scanned the menu before deciding on a burger, and Clara ordered a salad. They both requested coffee and a slice of cherry pie. Marley noticed a group of people sitting at a table in the corner. They were laughing and joking, clearly enjoying each other's company. Marley missed the bond she used to have with her sister. They may have been born six years apart but they were always best friends. That was until five years ago when Clara married John, and everything changed between her and her younger sister.

When the waitress arrived with their food and drinks, Marley was lost in thought. Clara dug into her salad while Marley took a bite of her burger. As the two sisters ate, Marley's mind wandered back to the group in the corner. They seemed so happy and carefree; she couldn't help but feel envious.

Clara noticed her sister's distant expression. "What's on your mind?" she asked.

Marley hesitated for a moment before finally deciding to speak her mind. "I just miss how things used to be between us, you know?" she said softly.

Clara's expression softened. "I know, Marley. I miss it too," she admitted.

Marley let out a sigh of relief. "I'm glad we're finally talking about this," she said.

Clara nodded in agreement. "Me too," she said, sipping her coffee.

The two sisters fell into a comfortable silence as they finished their meals. Clara paid the bill, and the two sisters returned to the car.

"You take a nap, and I'll drive for a while," Clara said to her sister.

Marley quickly agreed and settled into the seat. Clara slowly made her way back to the highway as her sister drifted off to sleep.

As Marley slept, Clara tried to keep her thoughts at bay. She couldn't help but think about the past few years events. The divorce had been a wake-up call for her. She had been so caught up in her own life that she had completely neglected her relationship with Marley. It wasn't until Marley offered to come get her and let her stay with her in Florida that Clara realized just how much she had lost.

She glanced over at her sister, who was mumbling in her sleep. Clara knew rebuilding their relationship would take time, but she was determined to do it.

As they drove on, the sky began to lighten. The sun was about to rise, and Clara knew they were approaching their destination. She woke Marley up as she pulled into the Florida welcome center.

"Welcome back to your home state," Clara said with a big yawn, "I'm going to let you drive the rest of the way."

After a brief break, Marley got in the driver's seat and started to drive home. They were only a short distance away from a fresh start now.

As they pulled up to the house, Marley sighed in relief. It was a quaint little place with a small garden out front and a porch swing.

"Welcome to our new home," Marley said with a smile.

Marley and her sister hugged each other tightly, feeling the weight of their past lifted off their shoulders. They would finally be able to move forward together.

August 13, 2023 01:20

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James Milne
22:39 Aug 23, 2023

That was a sweet little something.


Patricia C
00:08 Sep 02, 2023



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