Shoot girl, you’ve gone and done it now.
Loretta stared, dazed, past the splintered windshield at the massive tree that had arisen from seemingly nowhere out of the deep black of the night and– to her great surprise- impaled itself intractably in the hood of Randy’s car. She’d meant to get Randy riled up when she took it - it was his baby, after all. Not that tonight's fight was different than any of the others – usually about money and not having enough of it – but Loretta was sick of the yelling and stormed out, taking the car for good measure. He saw her drive away. She knew, because she could hear him hollering all the way down the block, but he didn’t try to follow her. He might be ticked off, but Loretta knew he wasn’t going to do anything about it. Though he might now, once he sees what she’s done. Dammit.
Loretta fumbled in the glove compartment for a smoke but only came up with an empty, slightly crushed pack and a lighter. Maybe she should get out of the car, but she couldn’t stop shaking. She touched her brow and winced, felt a lump forming, the flesh swelling in direct proportion to the growing panic. Loretta had driven to her sister’s for cosmos, laughs and a little sympathy and left almost ready to forgive Randy. Or forgive him enough, anyway. It was a little blurry now. Loretta squinted, as though it might help her see the past more clearly. Or at least help with the headache. Help. She should probably get some help. It was after midnight. Randy might be worried. Or not. Randy got mad, but never worried.
Loretta found her cell among the things scattered in the passenger seat footwell. She paused, then hit the speed-dial.
Loretta, that you?
Randy, it’s me, I..
Jeezus, ‘Retta, what were you thinking taking my car? Where the hell are you?
Randy, I -
I what? No, never mind, just bring it back. Jeezus.
She hung up and took a deep breath, willing strength back into her body. She pushed the door open and carefully set one foot, then the other on the earth. Everything ached and a wave of nausea welled up inside. She doubled over, retching. When she could finally stand, Loretta felt much more clear-headed. She inhaled the cool air and looked up.
Out here in the country the stars shone so bright. Loretta imagined she was the only one who could see their light, that she, Loretta James, was chosen specially to receive it. She thought about Randy and wondered if he'd bothered to wait up or if he went back to bed. She wished Randy would worry sometimes. About her, she meant. Even a little.
Loretta flicked the switch on the lighter, its flame bursting forth like the light from one of her stars. She touched it to the cigarette-less paper shell and watched as it caught fire before tenderly placing it on the driver’s seat and turning away.
Loretta's Ride is my entry for LitStack's Flash Fiction Challenge #9.