They’re moving across the country, and his partner has flown on ahead to start setting up the new place, so Amelio is driving the car. His job doesn’t start for a month, and he’d been handling most of the moving planning; this trip is sort of his reward. “Take your time,” his partner had said, when they kissed goodbye at the airport, so he is: taking the winding, already semi-ruined highways instead of the crumbling interstate, stopping whenever something catches his fancy, at tourist traps or greasy spoons or whenever he just gets bored of driving. He’s wary every time he has to stop — he’s not entirely welcome out here in the country — but there’s a ton of space between towns where he can relax more.
Not entirely, though; never entirely.
He zones out a lot, leaning abstractedly on the window, all senses alert but higher functions offline, and just lets the little car eat miles, enjoying the wind whipping through the cabin. It’s hot in the mountains, but not uncomfortably so — he’s fine in short sleeves, short pants, and open windows. He hasn’t been this alone in years, and he feels watered by it, like the end of a drought, like the spring rain sweeping down from the hills and turning the prairie green again.