Maps

“Tom?”
“Yes?”
“What is a picture of an octopus holding a picture of me doing on my face?”
“Because, m’dear, you octopi my mind! Get it? No, okay..."

 

Lily let out a sigh and went back to reading her book, curled up inside of her wicker chair.

When the two of us weren’t laughing and making terrible puns, or lounging about in her huge egg shaped wicker chairs reading books under the glow and warmth of the sun, we would make plans. Sprawling over the soft carpeted floor of her apartment, with cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches on a small plate, we’d lay out maps. All kinds of maps ranging from maps of the world to maps of single countries all the way to maps of towns and cities. We’d look over all of these maps and mark the places we wanted to go to and in which order, drawing lines haphazardly in our excitement connecting one city to the next.

And while this was happening, we’d lay there together, looking at each other making promises about future road trips and spending long nights under the stars drinking cherry cola and eating onion rings on the hood of my car. Ever since we started looking at the maps, she started to write these short stories about each location. She’d romanticize them, make them seem so beautiful and she had a way of making you feel as if you were there, experiencing everything that she wrote about. But there was one place that she would always write about; Mexico. Before she met me, she dated this guy and since then, all she had wanted to do was go to Mexico first, and then the world.

I picked up a beat up white Dodge pick-up truck. I went over to her apartment the same day and showed her. She loved it and all of its dents and scratches. There was one change that needed to be made she told me; the cd player would have to be replaced with a tape player, so all of our mix-tapes would work on our road trips to Mexico and beyond. She wanted the old tape player to give our truck character. She wanted the songs that played through the tinny speakers of the tape player to write a new story about Mexico, one where two people meet and smile and have the best time of their lives without a single thing to worry about. She wanted to be in Mexico and soak up everything that she could. She wanted to be with me in Mexico, and grow happy together fixing our truck and pumping gas and eating whatever we wanted, since in that town, it was all about their nicotine fix, not their nice breath or how their teeth looked.

We made these plans a lot from her egg shaped wicker chairs and from the soft carpet of her apartment, looking at maps of the entire world and eating cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches with the crust cut off. We eventually stopped making those plans and decided to drive off into the sunset with our hopes and sights set on the wondrous land of Mexico. We packed our duffel bag full with our boxers, shirts, jeans and a toothbrush with toothpaste and the spare change lying around on her kitchen table. Picking up the keys, we drove for as long as the truck’s tank would last.

We made these plans, but we never planned for us to drive eleven and a half hours straight, only to stop at a gas station to fix a flat tire outside while I was inside counting the spare change in my palm to see if I had enough for an extra litre to get us there. We never planned for us to be stuck there, sitting on the roof of our broken down truck, listening to our mix-tapes until the battery in the truck ran out as well, drinking our cherry cola and eating our greasy, gas station onion rings while we looked up at the stars. We never planned for any of this to happen the way it did. But it did, and it made me happy. It made me happy to know that even though we weren’t in Mexico, or anywhere close to being in Mexico, she was still content to being stuck in the middle of nowhere with me. That she could still have a grin on her face as we made lame jokes and bad puns.

We never made these plans, but as we stood kissing against a Dodge in a gas station in the middle of nowhere, I suddenly didn’t care if we were stuck here forever or if we were in Mexico, pumping gas and fixing our truck.