Page 62 - 04-June-2024
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62 EDify. JUNE.24
Every day in the car with him it was the same. She floated between wishing it was different, and being grateful it wasn’t. “How was your day?” he asks.
“Good. Yours?”
“Yep, it was fine.”
That was the evening exchange. The morning
commute, so very early, was less loquacious, with all attention focused on the radio. The green light of the dashboard dial beamed into the dark winter chill as the morning show host’s gravelly voice described the antics of the night before (sometimes he had come straight to work from a smoky bar). They laughed.
The station wagon took time to heat up, the smell
of dust eventually blowing warm from the dashboard. But they had time. It was a long trip from the acreage southwest of the city to the bus station in the west end, where he would drop her amidst a swirl of diesel and hoarfrost to begin the trip downtown to work before he, too, entered his own, separate, eight-hour life. She wig-
gled her feet as she waited for the heat to kick in and wondered if her toes, cramped into too-tight fashion boots, would ever stop feeling like tiny sticky popsicles.
On the way home, the pale afternoon light had already disappeared and it was dark again, but the car was warm and welcoming when he picked her up at the bus stop. Now, it was the radio’s rush hour traffic report that arrested their attention. The blades of the helicopter competing with the voice of the traffic reporter, the crackle of the re- mote feed bringing news of the busy world below. They listened. They didn’t talk.
She talked to her mother. About things that were possibly considered quite dull,
though it was enough for them. A need for new jeans. The endless trial of the on-again-off-again boyfriend. Which wallpaper for the powder room.
Only now, decades later, a question forms in her mind as she reaches back to span not just the years, but the space that connected them, now gone. Why the silence? Was it restful, comforting, or was it a question of courage?
She likes to imagine a scene. Stepping from the bus, she sees the car idling across the street and slides
into the front seat for the return trip. Dumping her drawstring bag with shoes and leftover apple on the floor, she kicks it into the corner along with her purse so there is room for her feet, gathering her long wool winter coat around her like a soft tent. She pulls the car door in, shutting it against the rest of the world.
“How was your day?” she asks.
He turns to her, his face a five-o’clock shadow, his plaid scarf tied loosely at the neck of his car coat.
“I have something to tell you,” he says.
→ Liane Faulder is a journalist and author of The Long Walk Home:
Paul Franklin’s Journey from Afghanistan. A William Southam Journalism Fellow, she wrote the award-winning play WALK, which debuted at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival in 2018.
For more than 30 years, Liane was a writer and columnist with the Edmonton Journal. Her column, titled Life in the Sixties, appears monthly in dozens of Postmedia papers across Canada.

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