The first chapter of something I just began.
Cora, Marie, and Magnolia sat together, cramped into two small seats. All three of them had identical black trunks resting on their laps with initials stenciled in white paint—
And all three had the same blank faces, made empty by six days of travel. They sat in silence and watched the road stretch in front of them and the sky stretch behind them. The air of the car felt still and heavy, like it was hanging around them in great folds, in the way of musty velvet curtains.
It was Magnolia who was making such comparisons in her head, thinking absently how the sky was billowing like sun-bleached cloth and how the road ahead was a single line on the map of her life: hand drawn, wavering, and all alone. It gave her a funny feeling, rendering her very existence as a piece of paper. It wasn’t a bad feeling, though. She closed her eyes in a meditative sort of way, to help along further analogies.
It was Marie who was worrying. She frowned involuntarily as she gazed out the window and thought of upsetting things. First of all, why was she even here? In a car with her two least favorite people, driving unprotected to the last place she wanted to be. It should be the opposite, Marie fretted. I should be on a majestic cruise ship, sailing OUT of England, not further into it. Headed towards…New York City with…with….she didn’t even know. Marie rested her head on the window glass.
It was Cora who was fussing. She squirmed and retied her hair-ribbons and pulled at her dress, grimacing as she thought of what she might look like at this moment. In her world, six cramped hours in a car without so much as a reflective window, let alone a mirror, did things to you. And furthermore, Cora couldn’t even bring herself to look down at her gloves. She clenched her fists. Magnolia. She directed hateful, hateful thoughts at her companion but refused to look at her companion (who was inconveniently squashed next to her.) Angrily she produced her wire brush from her handbag and began to groom her suede boots to further perfection, just to keep her mind off things.
The car sped along under the immense grey sky, and each girl’s thoughts floated out and up, up to join the clouds above them.