In the Truck Bed

Written in response to: Set your story in an unlikely sanctuary.... view prompt

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Drama Fiction

CJ looked at her watch. 1:00 P.M. Christine said to come back home by 6:00. That was just enough time.

She drove to the park downtown and found a spot to park her big black truck. On days like these, CJ just liked to chill in the truck bed and play her guitar.

Her sister was having a rough time at home. Christine wanted to get her bachelors degree in literature at a college out of state. Mr. and Mrs. Jones wanted her to stay home. 

No one cared about CJ’s opinion. No one thought about how it would affect her. CJ just wanted to stand up to her parents and tell them to let Christine live her own life. But at the same time, she was tempted to beg her sister to stay.

But no one cared about her. CJ didn’t mind though. She didn’t need people. They were a waste of time. All she needed was her truck and her guitar.

A wrinkly elderly man walked by as CJ played As My Guitar Gently Weeps. He tossed some coins onto the tailgate.

“You’re really good.” The old man stated.

“Thank you.” CJ replied. People said that a lot when she did this.

“You from these parts?”

“Yeah, but I won’t be here for long.”

“Why not?” The man looked curious. 

CJ hesitated. She never spoke about her plans to anyone before. Not even her sister. “I guess I want a change of scenery.” 

The old man smiled. “Don’t we all. I wish you the best of luck.”

“Thank you.” CJ continued to strum as the music enthusiast walked away.

The truth was, CJ had been planning on leaving for awhile. She wanted to travel. It was her calling, she just knew it.

Some days CJ was ready to just go and never look back. The only thing that held her back was the thought of her parents thinking she abandoned them. But CJ finally realized that no one would miss her if she left. Now she was just waiting until she was eighteen.

Eventually Christine called.

“What’s up?” CJ asked when she picked up the phone. Christine probably wanted to tell her to get home as fast as she could. That’s what normally happened.

“I’m running away.” Christine sounded different from her usual collected self. CJ just couldn’t tell why.

“I know you want to go to college, but running away? You have people that care if you leave. Does that not bother you? What would Mom and Dad say?” This was out of character for Christine. She was the sensible one.

“Mom and Dad could care less. I would be just one less thing to worry about.” What was she talking about? Mr. and Mrs. Jones loved Christine. They would die if she left like this.

“Please don’t.” CJ cried. She didn’t know what to do. Her sister was about to throw her life away and CJ couldn’t do anything about it. Once again she was powerless. Once again no one cared about her. What CJ thought. What CJ wanted.

“You don’t want me to leave?” Christine asked. Of course CJ didn’t want her to leave.

“No.”

“How do you feel right now?” That was a weird question.

“Not very good. I don’t want you to run away because Mom and Dad won’t let you go to college. They need you. I need you.” Tears dripped down CJ’s cheeks.

“Then how do you expect me to let you leave next week? Especially without a goodbye. There’s no way that’s going to happen.” Christine lectured. “Your truck may be your happy place, but you don’t need to live in it. Especially not alone.”

CJ was confused. “Are you still running away?” 

“I was never planning on running away. I just wanted to show you what it feels like to know someone you care about is throwing their life away.” Christine confessed. CJ sighed in relief. Her sister was going to stay. 

“But, how did you know? I didn’t tell anyone.” 

“You didn’t need to. I know you. If you had the chance to live on that truck, you would take it.” That was true. “Why do you love it so much, Cass? It’s a piece of metal. A machine.”

“Because, this machine will not hurt me. It won’t make me feel worthless. Like I’m not important. This truck depends on me to keep it running. It makes me happy. It makes me feel like I have a purpose.”

CJ heard Christine sob over the phone. Christine never sobbed. Ever.

“I am so sorry.” It was quiet and in between sniffles, but CJ heard it. Christine apologized. “You have worth. Everyone does. And if I made you feel for even a second that you aren’t, that’s not okay.”

CJ broke down for the second time that day. That was all she ever needed to hear. That was all it ever took to make her stay. And those words made her feel so much better.

She hugged her phone as she cried her heart out. CJ thought she was ready to leave and live on her own. It was clear how wrong she was.

“I’m not going to stop you, but at least let me come with you.” Christine was always looking out for CJ. For that she was thankful.

“But what about you? You won’t be able to go to that college if we are always on the road.” CJ was not going to let Christine give up on her dreams. Not for her. Not again.

“There is always online school. I am fine, really. Worry about yourself. We have a lot of packing to do.” 

There was only one loose end. “What about Mom and Dad? They will be heartbroken when we both leave them at the same time.”

“You were already going to break their hearts. What’s the difference now?” Christine was right. CJ was going to break their hearts. No matter what she thought. Parents will always weep at the loss of their children. 

“We wait. I won’t leave until they are out of the picture. Then I will live my dream, with no one holding me back.” 

Even though CJ couldn’t see Christine, she could feel her beaming through the phone. CJ couldn’t help smiling herself. They were going to live their dreams, and they were going to do it together.

May 15, 2022 22:30

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