The park was covered in a light darkness, the trees surrounding Jack and Fran moving in the subtle wind. They sat on the park tables made out of old wood, and were covered by an overhead canopy. In front of them was a winding road, both directions filled with shadows from the overhead trees and numerous turns they could see.
“It sure is nice out here,” Jack said.
They sat there in silence for a few good minutes before Jack spoke again.
“Remember that time we tried to go as high as we could on the swings over there? And you fell and twisted your ankle and we had to go to the hospital? All ten of us trying to fit into the back of my truck?”
“Yeah.” Fran said, watching the cars go down the left side of the road.
“But wait, there was only nine of us. Greg wasn’t there was he?”
“Yeah, he was at the university. That’s right. He was two years ahead of us.”
“You talked to him at all?”
“Not since he left.”
“I called him a few times but he never picks up his phone. I left him a few messages, but he never calls back.”
“That’s Greg for ya.”
They stared at the road watching cars go by every few minutes out of the shadows. A black car’s headlights appearing out of nowhere from around a corner, down the small hill to take the short curve in front of them and go back down into a winding road full of shadows. Then a white van rolled by from out of nowhere and Jack punched Fran in the arm.
“Cancer,” he said.
“That wasn’t a cancer van.”
“It was too a cancer van. That’s how you get cancer.”
“No it wasn’t.” she said, her eyes on the road.
“That van didn’t have sliding doors, did it?”
“That’s right. If it did it’d be a cancer van.”
“I remember when we went to the old run down nuclear power plant and started that.” He looked away from her down the right side of the road.
“You weren’t there. You don’t know.”
“I do too. You got cancer because of the creepy white vans near the nuclear plant, right? And there was a white van following you guys from the power plant that one day and Hank said that it was trying to give you cancer. Right?”
“And I came the second time you guys went out there and we got lost and almost hit the deer. So then anytime you see a white van with sliding doors you hit someone and say cancer and that gives them cancer.”
Fran didn’t reply, but half nodded while watching the winding road. They sat there again in silence, Jack carving the old wood with his fingernail.
“Have you talked to Drew at all?” he said.
“So what are you going to do then?”
“I mean, are you guys gonna break up or. What?”
“So does that mean you’ll come back here a lot then?”
“I hope so. Amy and me haven’t talked since I broke up with her, ‘cause, well you know.”
They watched a green SUV go by, down the dark winding road as the sun went down.
“You hear about Ben getting in to the school here?” Jack said.
“That big fat ass.” He made a loud gulping sound, “Could he even fit into the hallways? They’ll have to reinforce everything with steel or have cement trucks on hand.”
They both smiled and Fran kept her eyes on the cars going by.
“So when’s your first day?” Jack asked, looking directly at her.
“Monday, actually,” she said, as her eyes followed a white mini-van.
“You got everything you need then?”
“Yeah, it’s all in my trunk.”
“’Cause if you need anything I can go with you to the store real quick. I heard food is more expensive there.”
“No, my mom packed a lot of things for me already.”
“Oh. I think all of our moms did that. I know Hank’s did.”
“Well,” Jack shrugged, but Fran didn’t see it with her eyes focused on the road.
Three more cars went by and they sat and watched them, Jack picking at the table as they drove past. Fran looked at her watch.
“I should get going here soon. Check-in is early, and I have to sleep some tonight.”
“Yeah, I’ve got work tomorrow morning.”
They sat and watched cars go by again: a red one, a blue one, and a black truck. The sun was still slowly setting, a red sky just barely visible and lightning bugs flicking on and off around them.
“Have you seen that YouTube video with the newscaster on CNN saying the c-word? It’s pretty funny.” Jack said, ignoring the cars going by.
“You know I don’t get online a lot.”
“Yeah, but you should get on there. It’s pretty funny.”
“Yeah, I’ll try.” Fran said, she checked her watch, “Do you need to call your mom again? It’s been half an hour.”
“No, I’m good. She knows where I am.”
“You really need to get a cell phone and stop using up all my minutes.”
“Yeah, I’ll try.”
Another white van passed and they both looked at each other. Jack smiled.
“That one had the sliding doors,” he said.
“It did,” she said with a half-smile.
Fran got off the table and stretched out some. Jack followed suit, and they started walking to their cars nearby. They hugged, and Jack waited for Fran to get to her car door.
“I’ll see ya around,” Jack said.
“Yeah. See ya later.”
They got into their cars and turned them on. Fran backed out first, and Jack followed behind her. She turned left down the dark winding road as he turned right into the shadows, their dim headlights illuminating the road.