This story was originally published on July 16, 2011. The author nominated it for Snake-Oil Cure’s First Short Story Contest.
erence, what’s on your mind? You seem a little preoccupied.”
“Nothing.” Everything. Your mother! “I was just running through everything in my head, making sure we’d left nothing behind or forgotten to do anything. Don’t want any upsets for our fortnight away.”
Terence hoped the reassuring smile he offered Jenette was both reassuring and a smile. He glanced at the time.
Another hour and a half.
The motorway. At least in name. The long series of roadworks strung together with brief stretches of road served a slow route to the airport. Terence had, of course, accounted for the extra time it would take. But he found little comfort in his planning. The contingency gave him longer to mull and stew.
He did not consider himself awkward or shy, just particular. Particular about social situations and particularly about physical contact. Intimacy wasn’t public and it didn’t come in degrees.
They crawled past traffic cones and through contraflows. Jenette leafed through a holiday guide. Janie slept in the back in her car seat. Scenarios and evasive manoeuvres raced through Terence’s mind. Roadworks only gave him more time at the wheel to contemplate the possibility of having to hug — and perhaps kiss — his mother-in-law goodbye at the airport.