I’d imagined the seven plus hour journey to be exhausting, especially with Vinnie’s constant chatter.
But within an hour into the travel, she’d fallen silent, staring out of her window and only talking to tell us that she’s hungry, even though we had already made two stops, once for coffee and the other to get her chocolates. A seven hour journey was quickly turning into nine.
Millie followed me down from the vehicle when we had stopped to get Vinnie’s snacks for the third time, while she stayed back to keep Nathan company since he had fallen asleep on her shoulders.
While I bought all of Vinnie’s demands, Millie helped herself to another cup of coffee.
“A caffeine addict?” I asked.
“You inadvertently become one while making your way through multiple shifts.”
I bought a cup myself and we sat down on the rickety plastic chairs kept outside the small shop.
“So, Vinnie told me you’re a writer.” She said.
I sipped on my coffee all of a sudden and burnt a part of my tongue.
“I wouldn’t call myself that.” I said, trying my best not to tear up from the hasty sip.
“Why not?” Millie asked.
“Well, I work as a freelance content writer for private companies for now.”
“Nothing original? Creative?”
“Yeah, sure.”I said uncertainly.
“Then she wasn’t lying.”
“Well, it isn’t published.” I said, taking another sip, this time slowly.
“So, according to you, a story isn’t great until a bunch of people validate it’s grandeur?” She asked smiling.
“Hmm.” I smiled back. “Hmm, I’d never thought of it that way.”
Having finished her drink, she got up, exactly when her phone began to ring.
“It’s Vinnie.” She said, looking at the screen.
“Wait, is that Naked by James Arthur?” I asked, referring to the ringtone.
“Yes.” she replied looking surprised.
“Say you won’t let go?”
“You haven’t heard that one?”
“Oh” she uttered. “You meant the song, yes! I love that one!”
“Oh my god, same!” I exclaimed.
She looked like she was a bit confused by my sudden excitement towards a song, but in a happy kind of a way, which didn’t make me want to go drown myself. She gave me a lopsided smile before walking to our vehicle. I threw my coffee cup and made my way back as well.
I was honestly amused by the fact that despite our slow move towards the destination, the driver had absolutely no problem with it. We even got along well, as he occasionally talked to me about his village only to be annoyed by Vinnie who would tell him to lessen the vehicle’s speed.
“Do you want to reach today or not?” I asked finally, after she had done that for the fourth time.
“We still haven’t reached?” Nathan asked sleepily, waking up from his nap. Vinnie had kept disturbing him throughout the whole journey until now, trying to ask if he was hungry or if he wanted to pee. The first time she did it, he had punched her on the stomach and asked her to jump in a pool of lava, but the following times was met with just really unnecessarily loud wails asking her to stop.
“Why are we going this slow?” He asked me, then turned to Vinnie.
“How much you’ll eat? You won’t let me sleep peacefully, neither will you let the driver do his job. Did you drink up the vehicle’s fuel also? We should have reached so much farther by now.”
Vinnie returned his punch gracefully, as an answer.
I laughed as I patted Nathan on the head while he shoved my hand away irritatedly. I looked to the side to find Millie, wearing her earphones and looking out the window, completely oblivious to the racket that Nathan and Vinnie were making. I found myself smiling at the calmness on her face which was abruptly and very roughly interrupted as she suddenly turned around to catch me looking at her.
I looked away swiftly, dropping the backpack I was carrying next to me, on my leg and cried out in pain.
When I looked up, she had her stupid lopsided grin yet again.
I rolled my eyes at her and she just shaked her head whilst trying not to smile, as she went back to staring at all the green outside.
To be continued–>