What Lies Beyond the Eyes

Chapter 10: The Arcade Part 1

Sandy drove a white Honda CR-V Hybrid that was looked brand new. When I hopped into the shotgun seat, the smell every new car has filled my lungs. Another dead giveaway that it was new was that the inside was almost spotless. ”New Car? ” I asked Sandy to confirm my intuition.

”Yep! ” She told me with a wry smile, ”I got it as a graduation present for college. You jealous your car doesn have a high-tech touch screen dash too? ”

I reached for my seatbelt and wrapped it around my body, ”Actually, it does. ”

”No way that thing has one of these babies in there! ”

”That thing is a 2018 model, so it does. Its just a little worse for wear. ”

Sandy had a shock look plastered onto her face as she said aghast, ”So do most cars have these things in them now? ”

I gave her confused look, ”Yes? ”

A look of confusion flashed onto her face before she quickly continued to try and one up me, ”Fufu… Well, mine is a 2020 model! ”

”Mhmm… ” I smirked at the childish remark

”Can we listen to my music on the way to the mall at least?! ” Danny interjected right between Sandy and I in the front seat. I thought to myself, ”If its Sandy we
e talking about Im sure she wouldn mind if— ”

”No ”

”Well never mind. ” I couldn hide the surprise look on her face and neither could Danny.

”What? Whyyyy?! ” He complained to her.

Her eyes started to glimmer again, and I couldn help but feel content. Sandy, meanwhile, in response to Dannys question, told him snarkily, ”Because we are going to listen to my music. ”

Sandy hit play on the touch screen, and Danny and I were both floored by her taste in music. It wasn mainstream pop, hip hop, or even r&b. It was…rock? AC/DC started blaring out of the speakers and while Rom and Gia were expressionless to the music, it was a stark contrast to Dannys face. Who, for the second time today, was pleasantly surprised by the music choice as he nodded his head in approval after the initial shock. ”Not bad, not bad. ” He commented.

It wasn as good as Roms music taste for him, but it wasn that far off of a second place. The music, for me, blasted me back into my seat. The song didn start from the beginning and instead started right at the highpoint of ”Thunderstruck ”. As I shook my head from the sudden influx of electric guitar, I looked to my left to see Sandy playing air guitar along with it. She laughed from her silliness and looked over to me to see if was following her act. I couldn help but smile at the absurdness of the situation, that just 2 weeks ago would be impossible for me to fathom.

Im in a girls car that goes to my college because her sister is dating my brother. His girlfriends best friend in the back, and we are listening to rock music as we go to the mall for an arcade trip. I could go back in time with this snapshot and show it to me and do like Kuzco in The Emperors New Groove; ”Yeah thats me (You). You
e probably wondering how I (we) got here. ”

I would have never in a million years have thought that this would be the way I spent my last week of summer.

I chuckled to myself as Sandy started to pull out of our driveway. The music so loud no one heard me or even noticed me as I chuckled. Gia, after seeing Danny rocking to the music, started to follow his lead and Rom after her. Sandy gleefully sung along playfully beside me, but after I finished chuckling at myself, I just looked out the window.

Ive never been one to be able to do this kind of stuff like singing along or rocking out to a song with everyone. Im always afraid that Id look even weirder than I already did. So I was being the odd one out like I always was, and I didn even mean to be.

Suddenly a familiar thought entered my mind. ”Do I really have to go myself? Wouldn it be more fun for everyone if I just stayed at the house? I needed to finish that financial aid stuff too. ”

This wasn exactly something that I was unfamiliar with. I usually think this whenever I suggest something to my family. I get all excited at first and get into the idea, but right when we start to do it, the adrenaline of the birth of the idea starts to wear off, and I start to get cold feet.

I just want to go back into my room and sleep the day away. Its not even a guarantee that Ill sleep, but just being in the dark, under convers, alone with my thoughts, is comforting. The more and more I think about it, the more I begin to wonder why Im here. Memories of when I left functions only to return to everyones surprise that I was even gone popped into my mind. Ill just bring everyone down obviously if Im already wanting to go back to my room. I looked over at Sandy rocking out in the drivers seat, and a memory appeared in my mind.

”Okay bud, ” she said. ”I gotta tell my friends abou— ”

Before she could finish whispering her poison in my head, Sandy grabbed my hand excitedly and made it bob to the beat of the music as she exclaimed, ”Come on! You can listen to AC/DC in silence idiot hahaha! ”

I couldn help but smile at the jubilant energy emanating from her, and now that I looked around, everybody was having a great time singing and playing along to the songs. Maybe I won bring everyone down this time? Feeling the energy in the car, for once it was contagious to me. I forgot about my doubts and fears, and I enjoyed the moment. I started to sing along with them as we drove down the highway. I ignored my common sense saying I was a god-awful singer, and I just went with the flow. A feeling of gratitude filled my body as I started to sing along.

I couldn help but smile when no one even batted an eye when I started, and Sandys contagious grin eventually made me smile. ”I can believe Im enjoying this hahaha! ” I thought to myself.

Sandys energy somehow picked up even more when she looked over at me and saw that I was singing along with everyone else. So much so that I had to remind her, ”Hey you
e still driving! ” after we almost rear ended someone at a red light.

The kids didn notice aside from the sudden jerk from the stop. ”Shit! ” I exclaimed in my head. ”This is what I was worried about bringing the energy dow— ”

”Pffffttt! ” Sandy let out after calming down after the near crash. She looked at me with an air of knowing pleasantness that calmed down my worries before saying something that made me annoyed again. ”You
e such a mom, hahaha! ”

”Shut up! ” I told her. I don care if she thinks acting like a mom is a good thing, its still annoying for a guy to hear! She continued to look at me with sweet eyes for whatever reason, and I had to tell her, ”The lights green… ”

”Ah! ” She exclaimed. ”Yes maam! ”

”Motherfu— ” Before I could finish, she slammed on the accelerator to catch up to the traffic and slammed me and the kids back into our seats again.

This time the kids didn just ignore it, and of course it was Gia to say something, ”Hey! Can you drive without giving us whiplash Miss Perfect?! ”

I didn even give Sandy the chance to respond to see her eyes get sunken once more, and I snapped back at Gia while turning around to face her, ”Can you say something without everyone else being better if they hadn have heard your grating voice and statement Miss Prissy? ”

”Mark, you stupid, gloomy— ”

I turned back around and ignored her before she could finish. I saw Danny hold her back in the sunglasss holder mirror, and I smiled at the chaos caused by my statement. I turned to look at Sandy, and she just had a painful smile on her face.

”Dammit! ” I lamented to myself, but I didn want to admit defeat. Now it was my turn.

I grabbed Sandys right hand since she wasn using it to drive, and I put her hand in the air, and I started bobbing it to the music. I exclaimed to her, ”You can listen to AC/DC with that sad expression, right? ”

She stared at me in shock for a second, and I thought, ”Shit! I did something really cringey! ”

But before I could wallow in regret for too long Sandy burst out in laughter, ”What was that? ” She asked between giggles.

She punched me in the shoulder, ”You
e not supposed to act cool! ”

And so, she turned back to rocking out to the music, but the kids in the back instead started talking to themselves. Not wanting Sandy to feel left out, I started rocking out with her. There was no other reason for me doing that aside from not wanting Sandy to be the only one rocking around and singing along!

But suddenly, the normal thirty-minute drive that would seem to last forever, seemed to go by in an instant today.

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