Tonight the Streets Are Ours / Page 56

Page 56


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Arden’s one course of action about the whump-whump-whumps would have been to call her father, but she didn’t know what he would have done about it, either, or how he would have reacted to the news that she’d gone sixty miles out of town without telling him. So she just got back into the driver’s seat and drove on, turning up the volume on the Heart of Gold’s crappy stereo to drown out the noises coming from under the hood. Arden watched the road and thought about Chris heading to his cool cast meeting, and she wanted to text him and say, I’m heading somewhere right now, too.

“I think I’m going to work on a farm this summer,” Lindsey announced in a break between songs. For miles, all they’d been able to see out the windows was farmland.

“Which farm?” Arden asked.

“I don’t know. I’m going to look at job postings and stuff online to see if anybody nearby needs extra farmhands. It’d be like when I was a kid, you know?”

“Then you’re going to have to get your license fast,” Arden advised her. “Because I am not driving you to a farm every morning. I know how early farmers have to wake up, and I want no part in that.”

“Hopefully I can find a place where I can live for the summer,” Lindsey said, resting her head against the window. “That way neither of us will have to worry about driving.”

Arden snuck a sidelong look at her. “You’d really live at a farm?”

“Sure, if I can.”

“Without me?”

“You could come, too, if you wanted.”

Arden did not want—unless there were zebras there, and possibly not even then. Zebras had lost some of their appeal over the past eight years.

“It’ll only be for the summer, anyway,” Lindsey went on.

Arden felt a twinge in her stomach. She thought about how much trouble Lindsey could get into when left to her own devices for ten minutes, and she shuddered to think what could happen if the two of them were separated for ten whole weeks.

A couple years ago, when Arden’s family went to Atlantic Beach for a grand total of eight days, Lindsey had decided it would be a good idea to dress up in a sheet and stand alongside the road in the nighttime, to make drivers think they’d seen a ghost. One driver panicked when he saw her, swerved, and crashed into a tree. Nobody got injured, but the car required thousands of dollars of repairs, which Lindsey was still paying off. This was the sort of thing that happened when Arden left Lindsey alone.

But Lindsey probably wouldn’t go through with it, anyway, Arden reassured herself. The number of plans like this that Lindsey had made over the years, only to abandon because they took too much effort or were replaced by new, more exciting ideas—they were countless. If Arden took every one of them seriously, she would never have time to do anything else but worry.

“Hey,” Arden said, pointing to a green road sign. “Shartlesville, Pennsylvania. The town you go to when you try to fart but you-know-what comes out instead.”

Lindsey guffawed and held up her hand. Arden smacked her a high five, swerving the whole car to the right. The truck behind her blared a long honk. “Arden Huntley,” said Lindsey, “you are a clever girl, you know that?” She picked up her phone again and dialed. “Hi, is Peter working tonight?”

She paused. Arden focused on the road before her.

“Teenage guy?” Lindsey said into the phone. “Goes to art school?” A moment of silence. “Cool, thanks. We’ll be there by ten.” She hung up.

“So,” Arden said, her heart fluttering.

“So,” Lindsey said. “I found him.”

The heart of the Heart of Gold is called into question

At six o’clock, they drove past the first road sign for New York.

“New York City, one hundred thirty-five miles,” Lindsey read aloud.

Arden felt suddenly gripped by the extraordinary potential of highway signs. They made the country seem deceptively small. The only thing that stood between her and New York City was the number 135. She could keep driving even farther and hit Connecticut, or Vermont—or Florida if she made a turn to the south—or she could turn around and drive through the night and the next day and the next night and the next day until she hit California and the Pacific Ocean. Highway signs made every place in America seem equally within reach, and even though Arden had been driving for hours now—even though her eyes were dry from watching the road continually unfurl before her like a never-ending ribbon—this first sign for New York City made her feel like she could keep going forever.


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