(This is posted as it was sent, with spelling and grammar preserved.)
Every new years night had been perfect since I had met Casey. Last year we sat upon the rooftop staring into the bright glowing stars as the fireworks exploded over the city, and at exactly twelve o' clock he gave me the most loving kiss of his life in this relationship. From this morning when I heard him swearing every word in the urban dictionary because he'd knicked himself shaving, I knew that tonight was going to be different. We'd been to the Pacific river, a two hour drive from our house only once before on a night like this. It had been when we'd first started dating; the times where we had some much to say to each other that we'd never run out of topics, or if we were silent, it was because we were taking each other in, our gazes intense and saying more than words ever could. Tonight the grass scratched and tickled my legs as I wriggled around to find a comfortable position to sit, and mosquitoes buzzed and bit my arms. Casey played with his new mobile phone and grabbed a beer from the esky occasionally, but he rarely did anything else. I could tell his heart wasn't into this night, I wonder why we even bothered to come. I slithered over to him, pretending to be a snake to lighten the mood, I half expected Casey to look up and give me one of his weird looks, but his gaze wasn't broken from the precious phone in his hand. My fingers crept up to his lips hoping that he'd kiss them like he used to, then pretend to snap at them like a crazed monster before we both cracked up laughing. But his lips and my fingers stayed very much stationary. I tried a different approach, leaning my head against the warm fabric on his shoulder, "Do you remember when we first came here? Wasn't that a beautiful night? You looked so handsome in your tuxedo and I was wearing that blue dress..."
Casey grunted and threatened to put down the phone, but instead kept holding onto it as it touched the grass, "Are you saying that you rather I'd chosen something better than this to wear tonight? After my long days in the office and I want to just relax, you think that your boyfriend can do a better job, don't ya?"
I was quite taken aback by his outburst but tried to keep calm. I'd put up with this crap before in regards to my 'awful' cooking. Casey wasn't known for his tact or pleasantries, even his friends sometimes had to leave our barbecues because he's gotten so offended by the least little remark, or his opinions being the only ones that mattered. There was that time a kitchen fork was thrown at him in frustration by Kevin...
"It's not like you're all dolled up tonight, either. You don't know what you're talking about… this is a crappy shirt, but I’m wearing it!" he grunts again.
"I bought you that shirt last Christmas if you remember?!" my frustrations reach boiling point, I can't contain it.
"That explains the pattern..." Casey lets out a laugh, playing with the cuff.
'Screw you!' my mind screams. "I thought it was a nice pattern..." my mouth manages to quietly reply.
It's 11:59. "TEN, NIGHT, EIGHT, SEVEN, SIX, FIVE, FOUR, THREE TWO, ONE!" I expect to hear the cries of excited crowds and festivities. Champagne glasses clinking, lovers embracing, fireworks starting up. But then I remember where we are, we're not in the middle of the city anymore. There is a faint echo of fireworks, but nothing spectacular. I turn to Casey, who looks the other way. I don't even get a new year's kiss. What a great night this turned out to be. Last year I loved the thought of being isolated from society with the only person in sight being my boyfriend. Now I almost wished I could throw myself into the murky black water beneath us and swim far from being anywhere near him.
"Come on, do you want to miss the whole day?!"
The car horn blares, making neighbourhood dogs bark in anger and fright.
"Shut up! I'm here! I'm here!" I fumble with the door keys, my body filled with anxiety and my heart beating way too rapidly all because of dumb Casey.
I trip over my shoes as I walk down the steps and Casey laughs, "You're so clumsy!"
I could think of a million better ways to spend new year’s day than going on a road trip through the country with Casey but we’d planned this day for months in advance, there was no way of getting out of it without another fight.
My ears are screaming as we make our way along the congested highway what seems like one kilometer an hour. Casey’s idea of music is so different than mine, I can’t manage Limp Bizkit, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Santana one after the other!
“Can I listen to something, please? We’ve had your crap bursting out of the player for ages!”
“Whaddaya want, Aqua or Britney Spears? Give me a break!”
Dickhead’s none the wiser to my thoughts even though the scowl says it all.
Drooping cactuses, dry orange dirt, birds flying over the mountains, yes we were surely in the desert. The heat from the sun was burning onto the leather seat, making my legs and no doubt my neck red.
“Can we stop now? Look, there’s a rest area up ahead! Pull in!” my voice is hoarse from lack of water.
“Lucky you didn’t bring any of your cucumber sandwiches!” Casey winks as he jolts the car to the left.
We’re sitting in the carpark, roof down, watching the passersby flock into the restaurant, beside us a tiny middle aged lady with frizzy white hair is leaning against her car staring into space… it’s the quietest moment we’ve had all morning, but I’m still annoyed.
“Of course we COULD always just have a munch on my sore and burnt little legs,” I respond sarcastically. “They’re burnt to a crisp now because you refused to put that seat cover on, thank you very much Mister Smarty pants!”
“ALRIGHT!” Casey punches his arm in the air excitedly. “Anna, guess what, they have crocodile burgers here! That’s so awesome!”
“Yeah… wonderful…” I push open the car door, slam it and march away.
On the way to the entrance, the tiny middle-aged lady strides up along next to me now carrying in her arms a sleeping baby wrapped in a blanket, “I’m sorry but I overheard your conversation before. Aren’t little brothers so immature! You can’t get them to listen to anything you say…”
My throat clenched as a huge laugh tried to escape. I manage a small, polite one, “Yes they are! Hopefully they’ll grow up one day!”
On the way out, Casey throws the wrapper of his burger at the bin next to a huge sign reading: ‘No littering, please!’. The wrapper misses the hole and lands on the ground. He doesn’t care and keeps walking to the car, so I go over and pick it up. As we slide our butts into the vehicle I have to stifle another laugh as Casey brushes back his hair with his greasy and barbecue sauce stained fingers, leaving visible streaks along the strands. He’s too busy now trying to find his car keys to notice what he’s done.
The silence is the same, the music is still too loud, he’s still as sarcastic as he’ll ever be, but as we drive along the deserted highways to our destination for what was supposed to be a romantic getaway, I can’t help but stick my head out the window, feel the hot breeze brush by my face and smile.
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