Elizabeth woke up in an uncomfortable bed and in a white room that smelled like Clorox mixed with hand sanitizer. Was she in Heaven? Is this what Heaven looks like? Would someone who went to Heaven still be in constant pain? She was in pain. The pain from something greater than she has ever felt. The pounding in her head would go in a steady beat. Thump. Thump. Thump. She wished it would go away. There was a dim light coming on to the room and the faint noise of the television playing in the background. When she reached over to grab her glasses, she noticed that they were not there. She also realized her arm was constrained within a tight wrap. It felt like it was crushing her, but it didn’t hurt.
Liz turns her head over to see two people, one man and one woman. Her vision is blurry and her head still pounding. Neither the man or woman look familiar to her. They are both figures sitting in a dark room. The mannish looking one was on his phone, talking to someone in a hushed voice. The lady-like figure was looking down at the floor. Elizabeth shifted in her bed and the women looked up.
“She’s finally awake.” The women’s voice murmured through the dark room and she finally realized who the two people are. It was Elizabeth’s parents sitting on the bench by the window. Her mother stood up and leaped to the side of her daughter’s bed. How the hell did I end up in the hospital?
“You’re finally up honey.” her father said as he placed his hand on top of her head. Didn’t he understand that doesn’t help with the pounding in her head. Then she remembered why she is in this position. It was supposed to be a girl’s trip. A trip to celebrate three best friends who survived the four-year hell hole they called high school. They combined their graduation money and invested in a trip. Splitting the money evenly on a cheap motel with one bed and only eating pre packaged ham and cheese sandwiches for a ten-hour drive. If they had arrived, they would have lived off fast food and left-over sandwiches.
“It’ll be fun. We are going in separate directions soon, we need to do a girl’s trip,” Diana says. Alexa and Elizabeth rolled their eyes. At eight am, her enthusiasm was annoying and only made the two other girls more tired. We finished packing Diana’s 1999 Dodge Durango cases and a cooler filled with food and drinks. We were driving ten hours to San Francisco, California.
“Who’s taking the first driving shift?” Elizabeth dangled the key in hopes that one of them would take the keys from her. To her dismay, Diana had already taken the back seat.
“You already have the keys in your hand Liz. I think you could take the first shift.” Without giving her opinion, Alexa jumped into the old car. Liz took a second to take a deep breath then jumped into the car. Nothing bad could happen, right?
The door to the hospital room opened and a man in a white coat. He stood over her bedside and told her parents that she needed to stay overnight again. Again? How long have I been in the hospital? She heard him say that she could go home tomorrow. She didn’t want to stay any longer than she needed to. She wanted to get out and find out what happened to Alexa and Diana.
While the doctor and her parents were talking, she noticed two duffel bags sitting on the bench. Was I even in Oregon? How did I even get in this position?
Loud music plays, and laughter fills the car as the three best friends made the ten-hour drive to San Francisco. The car smelled old and there were questionable stains scattered around the clothed seats. Resting on the dashboard was the old GPS system Elizabeth’s parents gave her. Above the GPS, there was a rosary and her tassel from graduation.
Elizabeth glances in the rear-view mirror just to see Diana lying on her back complaining about the drive for the past two hours. “I wish our parents would have just let us fly there. Didn’t anyone realize that this would be a ten-hour drive?” At this point, Elizabeth just ignored her. She was starting to get a headache from it.
“Will you shut up Diana. You know this is the easier way to get there. This way, we have a car to get around.” Alexa snapped.
“I’m just saying, we could have pulled a little more money and at least gotten on a standby flight.” Elizabeth put her two cents in before the situation got out of hand. “Hey, listen, it’s our favorite song.” She turned up Love Again by We the Kings and began to dance around a bit. The other two could be bothered by the song.
To her right, Alexa was on her phone, looking up the different tourist places they can go to that is in our budget. Her foot was sitting on the dusty dash board as she smiled at her phone and looked at Elizabeth. “Liz, you have to see this. The view from the Golden Gate Bridge!” She shoves the phone in Elizabeth’s face for the third time, but Liz swats it away from her face.
“Lex, I have to see the road and the GPS system. Stop doing that.” Alexa rolls her eyes and mumbles something that Liz can’t hear.
Trying to keep her eyes awake from driving five hours already was getting harder and harder. Elizabeth thought that the three of them would switch places after every few hours, but she though wrong. Alexa was more interested in her phone than she was for driving. Diana wouldn’t be paying attention to the road.
Elizabeth kept driving for another hour and a half. It was starting to get to a point where she wasn’t seeing many people driving. Looking out the window to her left, she would see parents trying to get their toddlers to stop screaming or college kids returning home for the summer jamming out to loud punk rock music. It worried her some. Was she driving in the right direction? Did she miss the next exit? Did the GPS say something, and she didn’t hear it because of Diana’s constant complaining? Elizabeth kept looking at the rear-view mirror and her two side mirrors. Alexa kept pushing her phone in Liz’s face. Diana kept complaining and whining about the drive. Less and less cars drove past them and the GPS was starting to go in and out of service. The same was happening to Alexa’s phone and that only made Elizabeth worry more. Suddenly, the phones and the GPS lost service.
“Shit,” Elizabeth puts on her turn signal and pulled over to the side of the road, “This is the worst thing that could happen.”
“Yeah, I know. I can’t believe that I don’t have service,” Alexa said as she jumped out of her seat. Elizabeth looked at her in disbelief. How could she think that losing service in her phone was the worst thing? The fucking GPS has no service and she’s worried about her phone. Elizabeth’s head ache had only gotten worse.
“Lex, I think your phone should be the least of your worries.” This was the first time Diana said something that wasn’t a complaint. Finally, someone else who is thinking straight. “If we don’t make to the motel by tonight, we won’t get a decently clean room.” Diana leans back into her seat with a huff. Never mind, Elizabeth was still the only one thinking straight.
“Forget about your phone and the motel right now. I don’t have any idea where we are right now. I don’t even know if we are in Oregon or California.”
“Okay, don’t worry. I can tell when you’re starting to worry. Just breath and start driving again. I’m pretty sure that the GPS will come back on once we start driving again.” Alexa said looking at the front window and putting her phone in the cup holder. Elizabeth is pretty sure that Alexa was more upset about her phone, rather than Elizabeth driving anxiety.