From Literature and Back: Saturday night drive
    This is part of our series “From Literature and Back,” where writers are inspired by a film that was originally a novel. This piece is based off of Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

    The four of us have spent the entirety of our suburban lives driving down the same suburban roads, partaking in the same suburban schemes and leaping over the same suburban potholes because, well, this is the suburbs and those tire-popping jerks are everywhere. Then again, I’m not the best driver or Mario Kart player, so you can decide who wears the cone of shame.

    We were on our way back from Steak ‘n Shake, where we had inhaled our burgers and milkshakes two hours too quickly – running out of food for the abundance of conversation left in us. As predicted, the trails of thought followed us into my black Scion xD and buckled up for the long carpool through the neighboring towns.

    The four of us talked about school, graduation, our families, the accidental drawing one of our U.S. history teachers crafted on the chalkboard during his lecture on the Space Race. It went from trailblazing to tasteless in one stroke. We wedged every ounce of whatever was on our minds into this drive, recharging our brains at the stoplight until the car lurched forward toward the flash of green.

    Every so often I’d glance at the rearview mirror and the passenger seat, mentally checking in with everyone for my own sake. They’re all laughing, they’re taking an occasional ponder out the window, they’re hopefully enjoying every piece of everything.

    I know I don’t want it to end – this car ride, this night, this feeling of knowing exactly what’s going to come next. I want to stay as much as I want to leave and find a newfangled version of what I can find here.

    Ten minutes into the ride, we begin to approach the first destination and the river that guides travelers through most of suburban Illinois. I slow down so we’re coasting at the speed limit; the other cars happily move aside to leave us in the dust. Instead of looking back at my friends, I look forward and roll down my window, sticking my left arm out like a flag. I can hear one of them tell me to put both hands on the wheel while the other two follow suit. My thoughts hit my arm as they fly out the window, and I watch as each one takes its time to float to the water. All I have to hold onto this moment is this feeling – the feeling of being free and infinite.


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