She held her breath, pressed her palm to the window’s glass as the headstones raced away, and then spoke into exhalation as the scenery changed, “Don’t bury me.”
Accustomed to agreeing, he nodded, checked the rear-view mirror, changed lanes. “Ground’s hard this time of year anyway.”
“No, I’m serious. Don’t let there be a place that is me. I don’t want to exist, even as a memory, in an assigned spot in a green lawn.”
He said nothing.
She sighed. “Remember the map?”
“I know where we’re going.”
“No, the map they gave us when we visited the cemetery where some of your relatives are buried. Remember? All the little lines of death ownership directing us to the spot where our particular deaths rested. Remember?”
“That was a long time ago, and you have such a weird way of putting things.” He glanced at her. “Our particular deaths?”
“I don’t want to be on a map.”
Moments of silence passed, and then she asked, “So what’s the plan?”
He accelerated to find his place among the freeway-paced cars. “Dinner, drinks, excuses, and exit. We’ll be home by ten.”
Annoyed he hadn’t held the thread of the conversation, she leaned back into her seat and sighed. “Fire. Do you need to make a note on your phone or something? Because if I end up buried and mapped, I am going to be so pissed at you.”
“Crematorium a requirement? Or might this be a backyard fire-pit kind of thing?”
She smiled at the hopeful note in his voice. “Either one’s fine.”
He tapped out a rhythm to a song not playing, his fingertips drumming against the steering wheel. “Then all I have to do is figure out where to keep your jug of ashes.”
She burst into laughter. “Jug? My ashes are going to be in a jug? Like a milk jug?”
He swung his right hand into the space between them, conducting unheard music. “Or whatever it is one keeps ashes in …”
“No, that’s perfect.”
Some silent crescendo brought both his hands off the steering wheel for a few seconds. She stared out the window at the blur of broken white lines alongside and marveled at how heedless the journey could be. The song ended.
She reached for her phone and made a note to buy him a funnel.