Matt Rivers sat at the end of the street staring at the stop sign that once served as his bus stop. With his seat reclined he sat patiently awaiting his boyfriend, Thomas Franklin. For months the two had been talking about this day. In just a few hours it’d be midnight and Thomas would finally be eighteen years old.
Pulling out his phone, Matt stared down at the timer he’d set; one hour, thirty minutes to go. The time moved sluggishly, making Matt want to rip out his hair. Needing time to pass faster, he busied himself with impossible tasks. Looking up at the night sky, he attempted to count all the stars. He made it to sixteen before the idea that he’d been counting the same five stars over and over again arose in his mind. Thinking to himself; ‘fuck it’, he called it quits.
Checking the time on his watch, he was displeased to learn that only a minute had gone by. How was that even possible?
Huffing, he dropped his seat back and began pulling out his phone when he heard feet pounding the pavement.
“Matt! Start the car! Now now now!“ Thomas yelled.
With one flick of his wrist, the car roared to life as Thomas slid across the hood of the car. Before Matt could process what was happening, his boyfriend was sliding feet first into the window.
With Thomas halfway in the car, Matt shifted the car into drive and stepped on the gas. Matt’s tires spun as he peeled off, a dark figure chasing after his car. As they took off, the figure shouted, trying to catch up.
Pulling out of Thomas’s neighborhood, Matt turned onto the main road before slowing down.
“What the fuck was that?” Matt yelled, glancing in his rearview mirror several times.
“I tripped the alarm on my way out of the house and fucking Bill woke up.” Thomas explained as they pulled up to a red light.
Stopping, Matt turned the overhead light on to get a good look at his boyfriend.
“Tommy what the hell happened!” Matt yelled, brushing his thumb over the other boy’s bruised lip.
“Same thing that always happens.” Thomas said.
Matt saw red as he thought of Thomas’s stepdad putting his hands on Thomas.
Adjusting his hands on the steering wheel, Matt prepared himself to make a U-turn and head back to Thomas’s to give that son of a bitch a piece of his mine. But atlas, Thomas gripped Matt’s shoulder and shook his head.
“Let’s just go babe. I wanna be as far from this shit town as possible.” Thomas said.
And he was right. With both men having shitty, homophobic families and a group of friends that dropped them like hot rocks the second they learned that the men had an interest in one another, the small town of Charleston had nothing to offer the two. So with two suitcases full of clothes and a duffel bag full of cash, Matt pulled onto the highway.
Neither man knew where they were headed but with every mile, they put between them and the small town the couple felt lighter and lighter. Wherever the road took them would be better than the hell hole they’d been born into.
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