They knew where they were going, but neither seemed to mind the impromptu detour along the way. Undulating fields of sage and lavender tumbled out into the distance before them, the car drifting over the landscape like a ship on the open sea. Uninterrupted sky stretched in every direction.
Leaning back in her seat, she sank her teeth into a ripe peach and remembered the afternoons she used to spend in the backyard as a child, lying on the grass, watching the clouds carousel across the sky. She rarely took the time to look up now, but when she did, she recognised that familiar sense of calm: an old friend that came to visit in the moments when she let herself pause for simple pleasures.
It was good to be away from the city—finally—in a place where the air was crisp, where there were no schedules or obligations. It was easy to be present there, to breathe in the moment and let the feeling of being free release the tension of a long winter.
From the driver’s seat, he noticed her lean back - with a long, contented sigh. He shifted his attention, just for a moment, away from the vast stretch of highway ahead of them and toward his passenger. Her nose and cheeks had picked up a bit of colour since they had left home. The wind had tousled her hair. He told her she looked pretty, and she laughed a little, embarrassed, but hardly protesting.
She twisted the knob of the radio until the static dissipated and they heard a song they had both loved as children—one neither had heard in years, yet still remembered. Turn up the volume, he said, eyes fixated on the long road ahead. She rolled down the windows, and the music spilled out into the early-evening air.
Her hand reached over, brushing his knee. He took it, letting her fingers intertwine with his for just a moment before returning to the steering wheel. She sang along to the music softly, under her breath, charmingly off-key, pulling her bare feet up to the glove compartment and tapping along to the beat. He smiled to himself, and she pretended not to notice.
She pulled her sunglasses down and sunk deeper into the seat. The sun on the horizon bathed the hills in gold. Maybe they would return to the map, steer themselves back to their itinerary. Maybe.