When they were young, they moved around a lot; stayed in cheap motels, ate cheap food, with miles of infinite road ahead of them and only each other for company. She was a reason to smile at the start of the day, a protective lioness growling down the road in pale morning light. They travelled from town to town, city to city, and state to state – what felt like enough miles to drive around the world twice and back again. Even though they moved from motel to motel, always packing up and leaving, a stern unsmiling father in the front seat and two brothers in the back, she made it so they were never truly homeless.
Their father would leave for a few days at a time, leaving the three of them – the two boys in a dingy motel room and her parked on cracked asphalt outside. His departure would be made with a gruff command of ‘look out for your brother’ to the oldest, a repetitive mantra even in his dreams. When the night was muggy and the air sticky with humidity, they would sneak out of the room and into the car, the windows open to coax in a small breeze. In the winter the room they were staying was often too cold and so they wound the windows up tightly and turning the heating up as far it would go. At one point one of them have shoved Legos in the heating vents so it rattled when they turning it on lulling them to sleep.
They spent years on the road. She was unchanging and absolute, her body kept shining, polished black metal that gleaming even in the lowest light. Even as technology ran ahead of them they still fed her cassette tapes which used to belong to their mother and the harsh sounds of rock screamed out through the windows. The road stretched out unending, a new patch to explore, and their lives seemed the same. Always forward, never back. Seemingly running from an unseen force, the boys would ask what they were running from, but their father would just smile and stay silent. The younger brother imagined spies and pirates and bad guys. The older brother grew up too fast and knew exactly what it was. Death.
Memories of a life the younger brother had never properly known.