by Caro Claire Burke
The mother and father received the news on a Friday afternoon and were in the car driving south an hour later. They drove until midnight, then checked into a Courtyard Marriott for five hours before hopping back onto the road at dawn to cover the last hundred miles. They were silent in the car, which was strange: in their twenty years of marriage, they had never run out of things to talk about. There were, of course, things to talk about now—perhaps more than ever before—but neither the mother nor the father could find the words to start the conversation. By the time they navigated through the college town and parked at the police station where their son was held, they were both exhausted, irritable, and fit to burst with all the questions they’d swallowed on the way down.
The police officer behind the desk looked up as the entrance bells went off. “You must be the boy’s parents.”
The father stepped forward to shake the police officer’s hand. “That we are. Where is he?”