Mehdi had been driving passengers at all hours for three days. Being woken up by the phone at 3:15am after a scant one hour and ten minutes of sleep was torturous. To say his eyes were bleary would be an understatement of such great proportions it was laughable. He face was a caricature of himself, the dark, red lines outlining the deep bags under his eyes, cutting deep shadows across his cheekbones and making his dark eyelashes stand out like frames on paintings. But it would all be worth it when he got the paycheck. The holidays were just around the corner and every penny counted. His two young girls deserved the world and he would get it for them.
The woman had called the night before giving detailed instructions and the address of her destination. Had he been more awake a few hours ago, he would have remembered to bring the map and the directions he had downloaded from the internet. But he wasn’t and he didn’t. But he was sure that he would be able to find where she was going. It was a small town they were going to, after all.
The drive of 45 minutes was one of the longest drives of his life. He willed his eyes to stay open, almost missed the exit, took a few wrong roads but aptly avoided collision a number of times. The woman at one point asked him to please call into the office and have someone there tell him the directions because she was not sure she could find the way in the dark in the middle of the night. He scoffed, telling her no, sadly, they are all sleeping and there is no one there to speak to. This is not true, of course, but he does not want the shame of admitting he was too tired to remember to bring the directions.
Mehdi thinks to himself that the woman in the backseat is too much of a chatterbox. Why does she insist on speaking to him non-stop about unimportant topics such as annual precipitation and the Seattle Seahawks and Huskies? He has no care for those kinds of things. Getting people from point A to point B is his concern and right now, he is not so sure he can find point B. Perhaps, he thinks in his unawake and groggy mind, perhaps she knows where she is going and can tell me the way? Perhaps she is always awake at 3:45 am and this is why she is so chatty? Perhaps I can put her mouth to good use and have her tell me which way to go? In these small hilly areas, the addresses are so hard to find. But after a time he realizes that clearly, she is not going to be much help. The sounds of her voice are annoying like a buzzing bee but, he admits grudgingly to himself, they are all that is keeping him awake.
Miraculously, after some time and a few wrong turns and with going 10 miles out of the way, (because surely there is a faster road if he only would have known it) they have found it. He looks up and realizes that he has no idea where he is. He has no idea how to find his way back down and through the hills. It might take him hours.
Mehdi asks the woman if she could go in the house and ask her relations the way back down the hills. They could surely tell him. She tells him that sadly, they are all sleeping so there is no one to speak to.