The black SUV turned off of route 76 into the dusty drive way, and it kicked up its own cloud of dust into the morning air. Voices on the radio babbled.
“I can touch my face, I’m already sick. It’s amazing what they’re doing for us. Can you imagine not being able to say goodbye to a loved one? Oof! Think about it, and then think about what you can do to help make something like that less likely to happen.”
“Jesus,” he said, steering toward the boarded up house at the end of the drive. “Change it.”
The front seat passenger sighed, looked at him at changed the station.
“The congressman said he was not running for reelection to spend more time with family but most people think he dropped out because President Trump…”
“Change it,” they both said in unison.
New voices argued.
“Aren’t you concerned about people going to in-person voting?,” asked one.
“I don’t know. Why didn’t he do it before? He’s doing the right before the election,” came the answer from a familiar voice.
“But, do you think every …” pressed the other.
“Excuse me. Why didn’t he do this two weeks ago? All of a sudden, excuse me. All of a sudden, an election which is taking place very soon, gets delayed now. I just endorsed him today and,” and the voice stopped as he parked and turned the key.
“We’re here,” he said.
“That’s where we’re supposed to stay?” a young voice asked from the back seat.
“That’s it sweetie,” said the front seat passenger. “We’ll fix it up! It’ll be fun.”
“Fun?”, asked the other back seat passenger. “Fun wasn’t the word I was thinking of,” she said.
“Hey everyone knew ahead of time this was going to be a mixed bag, OK,” he said looking in the rear view mirror. Then he looked to his passenger on the right, they made eye contact, he squeezed her hand. She smiled a bit.
“Let’s get out and check it out, Grandpa,” she said opening the door.
The young boy ran toward the adobe building, met by her mother who jumped out of the back seat, chasing him down.
“Let’s be careful, snakes!” she said.
“Snakes?” the boy asked. “That would be cool!”
They stood watching their daughter and grandchild. He put his arm around her.
“Lots of memories,” he said.
“For sure,” she said. “How did we not know? After that summer I couldn’t forget this place.”
“Kids are self absorbed,” he said. “I never would have wanted to come back here when we first met. It was the last place on earth….”he stopped.
“Maybe if there was a zombie apocalypse,” she said. “Maybe when the world was ending. Or a pandemic quarantine.”
“Yeah, there’s a lot of things I never would have thought would have happened,” he said watching the young boy trying to peek inside the house.
He turned to her.
“I’m sorry it took this to bring us together,” he said earnestly. “We should have all been together a long time ago. We could of made it work anyway.”
“You’re ridiculous,” she said. “Fucking, ridiculous. Getting all sentimental about this. You didn’t want to ‘be together,’” saying the last two words in a gently mocking tone.
“Jesus,” he sighed, shaking his head and looking down.
“You, and, well, me, too,” she continued in a softer tone. “We had shit to do, right. If you think about it every thing between us has been a disaster anyway. Except them,” she said glancing toward the house, their daughter and grandson.
“Anytime I’m the least bit ‘sentimental’” he matches her mocking tone, “you have to step on it, grind it out, don’t you?”
“C’mon,” she said. “It’s a put on. You’re not sentimental except about yourself.”
“Fuck off,” he said in even tone. “This is gonna be the longest fucking month of my life dealing with you.”
“Month?” she said. “This whole pandemic thing is going to last a lot longer than a month.”
She remembered the first time she heard cicadas. She closed her eyes and breathed in. She took his hand, and looked up at him.
“At last,” she started, “my love has come along.”
“My lonely days are over and life is like a song,” he answered.
“At last the skies above are blue,” she sang.
“My heart was wrapped up clover the night I looked at you,” he said. “I found a dream that I could speak to, a dream that I can call my own.”
“Is that a tear?” she whispered, their faces closer together.
“Fuck you,” he whispered back. They embraced and kissed.
“Hey you guys,” said a voice that broke the moment. “You think you could peel yourselves off each other for a minute?”
They looked over, and it was sinking in. There was a lot of work to do
“The kid needs to eat, and we’ve got to get these fucking boards off these windows.