They headed out of the city on US-63. Isabel drove very fast and efficiently. She rolled the windows down and leaned back in her seat, a small smile on her face.
Tony gazed at her, his heart pounding. He looked across the car at her and took in the sight of her, windblown but the happiest he’d ever seen her. She was beautiful and wild and all he wanted was to touch her. He reached out and rested his hand on her knee. She rested her hand on top of his and kept her eyes on the road. Her small smile widened for a second.
“I haven’t done this in years,” she said.
“What?” he asked.
“Drive,” she answered. “Drive just to drive. Just to go fast and go far away,”
“Is that what you and Daniel did?”
She nodded. She lifted her hand off of his and turned on the CD that was in the player. Tony had never heard any of the songs that played, but the music seemed to turn their drive into a scene from a movie.
“What is this?” he asked.
“Thriving Ivory,” Isabel replied. “This album is from 2008,”
“I love it,”
“Really?” she asked. “Some people think the lead singer’s voice is weird,”
“No, I like it. It’s different,”
They fell silent and lyrics filled up the car.
You’re talkin’ in your sleep like there’s nothing more to lose/ Well hey you know you’re not alone,
‘Cause honey, I get lonely too, and it feels so familiar, must have been here before, singing ‘I don’t wanna go, but I don’t wanna hurt anymore’.
Tony kept his hand on her knee and she kept both hands on the wheel.
About half an hour later, Tony saw a sign for Lake Louise State Park, and Isabel signaled to exit. They drove into the park and Isabel let Tony pay the entry fee at the front office, then kept driving. They passed camping grounds and a picnic area, and finally, Isabel stopped the car and parked in a small lot beyond a sign that read Lake Louise Dam. She got out of the car, taking her coffee along with her, and led him towards the sound of steadily flowing water.
As they exited the parking lot, Tony saw the dam. It looked like a huge version of a fake waterfall set up in someone’s yard, with water from the lake spilling into the river, flowing down over the sloped concrete barrier.
There was a family with three small boys playing noisily around on the far bank, running in and out of the trees, but otherwise, the place was deserted. Isabel walked right up to the dam and slipped off her shoes before sitting down on a portion of the barrier wall. Tony took his shoes and socks off and sat down beside her. She had a melancholy expression on her face as she stretched her leg out to let the water from the dam spill over her foot.
The little family came back across the shallow water and left, taking their noise away with them in a minivan. It was quiet except for the sound of the water and Tony’s heart pounding away in his ears. He broke the silence after a few minutes. “Why here?” he asked.
“This was our place,” she said, looking out at the lake. “We’d come here whenever we needed to talk.”
Tony popped the lid off his cup, sloshing a little on his hand. He licked the coffee off his knuckles and looked at her. Her gaze was fixed on the water, as though she was were seeing something that made her very sad.
“So that’s what you want to do right now?” he asked. “Talk?”