Grape soda? Why did I pick a grape soda? I never drank grape soda. Of course, the whole thing was odd. I never rode in the car with him in the afternoon, just after school, for no apparent reason. We never stopped at that store to get a soda. We never had to talk about something. We never had to talk, and we didn't. For years he'd been an infrequent visitor - a slumbering guest best left undisturbed. The times I saw him were unusual, but they rarely involved me directly, so left little impression. And now we're back in the white Monte Carlo. The white two door with the plush red interior. I'm struck by how gauche it is, although I don't think I would have used the word gauche, but that's how it felt - gauche. We're driving for just a bit, slowing, pulling onto the gravel, stopping. We certainly never had to pull off the road by the narrowed bridge just a half-mile from my house. But, we had to talk. Thinking of the bridge distracts me. Just a few years later I would ram my car straight into the bridge. I was on my way to school when a speeding woman in a station wagon left me three choices - head-on collision, off into the creek bed or straight into the abutment. I chose abutment. But that wasn't on my mind now. It couldn't be. We had to talk. The man who was never there had to tell me he was leaving. He had to tell me here. It was better than there. He'd never been there. I cried. I guess I was supposed to cry. I drank the grape soda. I don't know why.