We didn’t spend the night in New York, but rather found a motel to spend the night, the kind of place where you only stop because you can’t drive any more. Tiny rooms. No restaurant, but there was a diner a block or so away. Very typical American diner.
It felt a little surreal. Almost as if it was a virtual reality of a road trip. “Does anything feel wrong to you?”
Kanesha considered, then, “This place is too stereotypical.”
I nodded. “Okay, it’s not just me.” And it probably was just the place. The uniforms. The menu.
Maybe it was set up to be that way, maybe the owners liked being a stereotype. Now I knew it wasn’t just me, though, I kept my eyes open. Our weapons were in the car, safely secured.
I hoped nothing would show up that I couldn’t hold off while Kanesha got them. But we ate, and headed for our room, and the uneasy feeling we were both sharing seemed to fade.
Maybe the place was some kind of CIA cover or safe house that had to pretend to be a working business. Nothing would have surprised me at this point. Maybe it was somebody else’s safe house.
The more I thought about it, the more that seemed the likeliest explanation. Something designed to look exactly like a traditional American diner, in the hope nobody would notice it.
But not the CIA. They would have done a better job. Ultimately, I decided it was none of my business, and slept.
I woke up early, but I often did. Trying not to disturb Kanesha, I went to the window and looked out into the dawn. There was bustle around the diner, but it could be a delivery.
No, it was definitely somebody being hustled out the back door, wrapped in a blanket so they could not be identified. I could not tell if they were being protected or imprisoned.
None of my business, I told myself again. Not everything was. Not everything was my burden to bear. That was an important thing to remember, too.
I was only one person and I could only be in one place at a time. I felt fire flicker for a moment.
I could only be who and what I was, nothing more, nothing less. So, I could not solve every problem and should not try to. The person was helped into a mini-van…they were definitely limping…and it drove off.
I decided to tell Kanesha, on the grounds that it might make her feel easier about the place, and because it wasn’t fair otherwise.
Then I watched until she got up, and we went back there for breakfast. Different waitress.
Better food. But then, some places were known for their breakfasts. Or maybe what I’d actually seen was last night’s cook being fired.
We got back in the car and continued to drive north. Things seemed quiet, as if nobody knew for sure where we were to harass us.
I knew that would not, could not last.