Our lady of sorrows by Ursula Regazzoli 2018
The car jolted along the winding forest road that must have been last paved twenty years ago. Evangeline was grateful for the shade of the huge oak and pine trees along this road that blocked out the blistering sun. With every rock they drove over and every jerk of the car, her sweaty skin brushed against the leather seats and she whimpered in pain. Her mother, who was refusing to acknowledge her existence never mind her hurt, turned up the radio in response.
“It’s a hot, hot, hot day here in Milwaukee, and I’m not just talking about the chicks!” the radio DJ practically shouted with enthusiasm Evangeline didn’t even know was possible this early on a Sunday morning. She rolled her eyes at his comment and continued to stare out the window into the seemingly never-ending forest. Usually on long trips like this she would count the white picket fences, or look at the houses, and imagine what kind of lives the people in them lived. Were they Doctors or lawyers? Fortune-tellers or witches? Or maybe even writers like she wished to be. But this time she couldn’t daydream of their perfect lives or try to keep herself distracted, because there was not a single house around them. They must have been fifteen miles into the dense woods by now and there was not another single soul in sight. Although she didn’t mind the peace and quiet of the countryside, and was glad to get away from the madness and chaos of her home, something about these woods made her feel uneasy. Or maybe it was just the thought of her final destination.
Evangeline was pulled back out of her trance by the peppy voice of the radio host announcing the weather. “Well guys it’s a hundred and nine and we’re doing fine...”
“Speak for yourself”, Evangeline muttered underneath her breath.
“There won’t be a single cloud in the bright blue sky today up until 8pm, so all you kids out there better get your swimming trunks on and hit the waves for some surfin’ and socialising alright? But you better get out there soon cause there’s gonna be a wild thunder and lightning storm, with downpours of rain hittin’ us at about nine pm tonight, so stay safe out there guys. But for now we’ll be right here to keep you company, playing you the newest sounds and sending you sweet summer vibes. Next up on the deck is the newest track from Fleetwood Mac, this is Dreams...”
Despite the cringe she felt, radiating off of the radio hosts voice, Evangeline gasped. It was her favourite band, finally something to distract her from her boredom. She had just begun to hum along to the tune and think that things were looking up when her mother changed the station. She knew it wouldn’t even be worth saying anything to her or trying to complain so she just let out a sigh and stared at her in the mirror instead, hoping to get the message across. “You’re starting a new life Evangeline, no more of this nonsense, you know that.”, she said locking eyes with her daughter.
Evangeline tried to ignore her mother’s comment, running her fingers through her thick golden locks in an attempt to stop herself from biting her own nails, which were already short enough as they were. She thought back on the weather report, wishing she was at the beach letting the sparkling waves wash over her ankles and the sun kiss her skin, adding more freckles to her speckled cheeks. She thought about her friends running home in the rain later tonight, after their day at the beach, while trying to avoid getting struck by the storm, and giggling as they splashed through puddles. “And I’m stuck spending a dark and stormy night at a spooky old convent?, she pondered to herself. “How cliché.”