Driving for a long time down a freeway backwards. I’m sitting in the back seat of this station wagon, enjoying my half sleep. By the time I spot a freeway exit the driver seems used to reversing, has even somewhat forgot they’re doing it. We take a rest for awhile during which time it becomes more like a sleepover class field trip.
I go to get coffee, considering whether I even want to drink much of it since I’ve been having such a nice sleep. I find a tap placed around a curved wall in rustic, 1940s era hammered enameled metal. Its label reads “Beverly” which I recognize as a generic vintage brand. I sample just a little bit. It’s honestly not bad (reminds me of my Nana), but I notice around the opposite wall, in a darker alcove, a tap for Folgers (I think this was my parents brand). Masochistically, I sample the unappealing dirt-colored liquid, then immediately plunge into a reverie about how you could drink this every morning as a parent — and fuzzily, apathetically, read a new disposable kids book to them every day.
I return to see my classmates/travel companions lined up in library-style booths. The teacher (akin to 11th grade chemistry’s Mr. Brown) has assigned a test sheet he found at the rest stop, one that even has scrawl copied at the top already. I carefully evaluate it, concluding it’s busywork of no value to anyone, and I decide it’d be better for him to have “lost” my paper if it ever matters. While gathering my stuff to leave, I check out the carpet, which will alter color to distinct shades of blue depending on how much water is spilled on it. Looks like carpet mosaic tiles.
I step outside onto a crowded patch of grass at the roadside, where many class friends are already waiting for the bus to pull round. I notice that most of us have coordinated our gear to match, and the colors we chose are mostly a few degrees away from each other. I notice Christy T. (who I went to school with from 3rd to 11th grade), has a surprisingly bright shade of khaki, the same as my big kratom bag.