His head leaned up against the car window. He tried using his seatbelt as a pillow and a way to hold his head up without any effort, but he was not successful, and resorted to leaning against the window instead. The rest of his family was quiet, with his father concentrating simultaneously on driving and staying awake to keep his family safe. His mom had her feet propped up on the dashboard in front of her, and was attempting to sleep. His brother was transfixed to a tiny screen he could hold in his hands, pressing the buttons this way and that. It lit his expressionless face with a cold, blue light. The family’s bags were packed like puzzle pieces into the various open spaces of the car. The moon bathed the landscape lightly, and the occasional gas station acted as a beacon in a sea of unfamiliarity.
For him, this unfamiliarity, this newness, was the very thing that was familiar. He was safe behind his window, and the world could be explored without ever having to touch it. He was completely comfortable downloading the landscape as quick as the car could move, and letting the headphones in his ear create an appropriate soundtrack for his midnight drive. It has been hours since the sky had shifted its colors, and he was now ready to drag the family’s bags into the familiar space of an unfamiliar hotel room. The beaten floors would be his bed, and the familiar sounds of his family sleeping would be the rhythms that would leave him to sleep.
As he leaned against that car window, he was already looking forward to the less-than-desirable coffee he would need to drink the next morning to function for coming day. Tomorrow’s events would be the same, and the colors of the landscape would change with the colors of the sky, and he would never have to leave his seat. And at that point he will be home.