The windows rattle a little as we fly down River Street. All things considered, the Sabre’s held up surprisingly well. It’s probably seen more than one transmission, but besides a little rust around the wheel well and a long crack across the back windshield, it’s in pretty decent shape.
“I can’t believe you guys still drive this thing.”
“Hey, there’s a lot of memories in this car.” She surveys the interior for a second. “Lost my virginity in here.”
“I did not need to know that.”
“Yep. Right there where you’re sitting.”
I try to change the subject by way of turning on the radio. Thunder Bay has only a handful of stations, and they’re all bad. I’ve never fully understood how there can be so many good songs in the world, but every time I turn on 94FM, they’re playing ‘One Week’ by the Barenaked Ladies.
I open the glove compartment and rummage through a mess of battered cassettes to find something better. I take out one ancient mixed tape and through the scratched-up haze of the plastic case read the tracks. Penpals—Sloan; Looking for a Place to Happen—The Tragically Hip; Helpless—Neil Young. They’re listed in a faded but familiar handwriting. I hum a little note of recognition and smile to myself.
“What’s that?” Ruth asks.
“Ah, nothing,” I say. “Just an old tape Soda made.”
She keeps one hand on the steering wheel and uses the other to crank down the driver’s-side window.
“Oh, come on,” I say. “It might be worth something.”
Ruth takes the cassette out of my hand, then lobs it outside over the roof of the travelling car. I look out the window and catch a fleeting glimpse of magnetic tape unspooling on the sidewalk.
“Not to me.”
She accelerates and keeps her eyes on the road.