The typical Florida early summer – #fridayfiction
Louise settled back into the seat, wishing she had stopped for something to eat. Ready to jump on even the slightest bit of forward movement, she sat with the engine idling for nearly twenty minutes, then lowered the windows and clicked off the motor. The typical Florida early summer evening felt warm and muggy, the air thick with the threat of more rain and charged with smells of gasoline and cow manure. Hungry and damp with perspiration, Louise felt weary of the trip. It was a foolish idea to begin with, and now she wanted nothing more than to return home. The thought of kicking off her shoes and settling down in front of Uncle Charlie’s old television suddenly seemed appealing. Maybe she’d make a meatloaf for supper—if she got there in time to make supper.
The dashboard clock ticked off another fifteen minutes, and still the traffic didn’t budge. Yoo whined, snuffed at the air, then climbed over the armrest and repositioned himself in the back seat. Louise took a grocery list from her purse and fanned her face. She could already feel rivulets of perspiration running down her back. What little breeze there once was had died away, and the air settled around them like a too-heavy comforter. Nothing moved except tiny gnat-like things that swarmed in and out of the open windows, nipping at her ears and neck. Nearly invisible, they darted in front of her eyes, then disappeared so quickly she wondered if she’d simply imagined them.
The longer Louise sat the more thoughts of food took possession of her mind. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes with brown gravy, buttered corn. As time passed it became steak, a whole loaf of French bread, a big slice of apple pie with cheddar cheese melted on top of it. She felt hungrier than she could ever remember, and her stomach rumbled like a volcano about to erupt. She rummaged through the glove compartment looking for a breath mint or stick of gum to ward off what felt like starvation. Nothing. Thinking there might still be some of that Stuckey’s fudge she’d hidden in the trunk of the car, she got out—but before she had time to check, the line of traffic began to move.
It was almost eleven o’clock by the time Louise got back to Tall Pines.