I remember the tape cassettes of sing-a-longs that played on repeat. Although the boys would sing loudly and off key to Over The Mountain, the father would clutch his head, counting the miles until he reached his destination. I remember the car seats and the way their father tried to force it in as if bending it against my will was going to solve anything. When the second and third car seat came around, he didn’t force it so much. He didn’t have to.
The trips to football practice and the songs on the radio became as routine as his night time joy rides in the country. His wife demanded they play The Supremes and I could feel his nails digging into my seat whenever Stop In The Name Of Love wafted through the speakers.
It was only when he and his three sons would travel together that he felt the songs come out naturally. They were old enough to bypass the sing-a-longs and in due time each of the boys knew all of the words to Foreigner. It was sometime after the boys hit middle school that things started to change.
I tried to keep up with the new music stations blasting Nirvana and grunge, but my ears were starting to bleed. The car seat started to reek of cigarette smoke and I was became a witness to the girls they brought into my back seat. I lasted as long as I could, but when the third boy grew up I was as worn out as the father.
Together we rode off into the fields back behind his house. For once, there was nothing on the radio and I felt our distance closing in. We rode in comfortable silence as we headed through the back woods. No longer were the miles counted until we reached our destination.
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