The Drive

At least she would be able to take the northern route, Sarah thought searching for a silver lining to the ominous and dark cloud that was seeing her extended family again. While it was no shorter a trip, the route through the province was a little more humane, mostly traversing two-lane highways and affording stops in small towns as opposed to the occasional and identical fast food service station.

Sarah loved to watch the countryside go by. For her it was like taking a trip through the short ages of modern Ontario; the sadness at seeing all these dying and abandoned places provided an escape from the nuisance of considering her dysfunctional family. So long as she plotted the course, her husband Phillip agreed to do all the driving enabling Sarah to gaze out the window and lose herself in thought.

Several points on the map existed in reality only as road signs, as if to serve as remembrance for the people who had long since departed to eke out a way in the congestion of some distant urban centre. Some of these names, such as Khartum and Balaclava, seemed to be the indelible commemoration of battles for which this land might have been awarded to long forgotten soldiers of the empire. Others, as is the case with so many towns in this ill-gotten land, were simply named for the cramped and dirty cities the settlers had fled: Cardiff, Minden, Ireland, Renfrew. One thing was constant in all of the places that remained, however, none of them were booming and the populations of each continued to shrink year after year as the little businesses that once thrived closed their doors. As she watched out the window, Sarah wondered what would happen to these places once everyone had left to throng in the cities?

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