“Hey, are you ready?” Phillip looked at the brunette. It was around 4PM, and the two were getting ready to head off to the Cascade Drive-In. “Yeah! What’s the movie playing tonight?” She looked at him excitedly. “Chloe and Theo.” He read off of his phone. “Oh, it’s supposed to be a comedy about a homeless chick in New York.” He was referring to the movie’s online summary. “Well, that’ll be interesting. At least now we’ll know what to do if we lose our jobs.” Dakota giggled. “True that!” The two were laughing together as they got into the car. Because it was the winter, the sun was setting pretty early. “It’s weird to think that the theatre is open during this season. Normally, they’re closed, right?” Dakota frowned. As excited as she was, something felt off. The Cascade Drive-In normally was closed between late fall until about March. “Yeah, it’s weird that they’re open during the winter, but I’m not questioning it.” Phillip laughed. “I even called ahead, and they said that they were!” He assured her.
The trip to the drive-in was a very stoic one. They were driving down the I-290 West, passing all of the parks, suburbs, and woods on their way to the movie theatre. The loop and Sears Tower were sinking into the distance as they were getting closer to their final destination. The sun was also beginning to set and the sky was turning purple. It was definitely winter in Chicago. But Dakota loved the experience. This was what it was like to drive home for her. Naperville was just 30 minutes south of where the Drive-In was, so a lot of the route was the same. Out in the suburbs, the city felt so big. She could still remember what it was like, being a high schooler and getting told that she got accepted into UChicago. At first, it was a bit terrifying. The idea of moving out into the city, being quite a ways from home, but as time moved on, she started to fall in love with the city and everything it had to offer. That became her new home. Whereas, Naperville felt a lot more slow-paced to her now. That sort of lifestyle, it appealed more to little kids, and working parents, neither of which categories Dakota falls into.
“Damn it, there’s traffic.” Phillip groaned. “We should have realized that. People are driving home from work now.” Dakota rationalized. “But at least we can see the sun set over the different forests. I think that’s Danada right there!” He pointed out. “Haha, Danada! If Canada got a downgrade.” The brunette chuckled. Back in high school, they had a field trip to the different forest preserves nearby for their AP Biology class. One of them was to the Danada Forest Preserve. One of Dakota and Phillip’s classmates, Megan, was not terribly bright; she only took AP Biology hoping that is was going to be an easy class to get an A in, a low-hanging fruit amongst the science courses. While Megan was not the best biologist, as her getting two D’s in the class would show, her commentary on that trip was nothing short of hysterical.
“Wow, it’s so pretty here!” The class of high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors were standing in a field of sunflowers on a warm April afternoon. “Class, this is Danada Forest Preserve.” Their teacher explained. “Since we’re learning about ecosystems now, I want you guys to observe different plant and animal life in the area and then write about how they interact.” That was their field trip assignment. “Danada? So like if Canada got a D and failed Biology AP?” Megan snorted. At that point, it was not even a secret that she was failing the course. Everyone laughed, but not with her. Instead, at her, for making such an unintelligent remark. Though Megan never went on to be a fantastic biologist or scientist for that manner, she did become a famous comedian. In the end, the joke was on the entire class; Megan had the last laugh when she was featured on Saturday Night Live. Though at the time, the entire class was too busy taking amusement in her stepping into horse poop and getting peed on by a toad.
Seeing the sky turn from yellow and blue to purple was mystifying. The outlines of the trees were getting less and less pronounced as they began to sink into the darkness of the night. It was funny to think that to their left was Naperville. It almost made Dakota feel a little homesick. She was wondering how her parents were doing. Her mother was a florist while her father worked as a plumber. You would think that a plumber would make a modest salary, but Mr. Logan was able to provide generously for his family. Dakota made sure to call them every weekend when she was not busy, or at least give them a text to update them on her life. It was funny when she first introduced the two of them to Phillip. Mr. Logan immediately sat down and interrogated the boy, demanding to know what his intentions with his daughter were. Mrs. Logan on the other hand, tried to hush her husband so that they could have a normal conversation. It almost felt like a scene from a sitcom because of how almost cliche it looked.
“Philly cheesesteak, how much longer until we get there?” Dakota yawned. At that point, she was tired from reminiscing so much. Being on the road, beyond just playing music, there really was only so much one could do. She wanted to talk more with Phillip, but she didn’t want him to get too distracted; even though traffic was bad, it could lighten up any second, and she did not want him to be too sidetracked with their conversation to drive properly on the highway. “Ducky, there’s a GPS. Just look at that.” He sighed, trying to focus on the dimming road. Phillip was exhausted from dealing with the traffic. Driving out of the city was stressful enough, but dealing with these cars and having to wait was agonizingly slow. The brunette frowned. She was not particularly fond of being treated like a child or being told the obvious. “Well, I guess we have 45 more minutes to burn.” She rolled her eyes at him, referring to the estimated time until they arrived. She rested her head on the window and closed her eyes. Half an hour was plenty of time for her to doze off and take a nap.