Becky never took her eyes off her phone from the time they left her house til they flopped into their seats on the Greyhound.
They had a 40-minute ride into the city, and Roger tried to talk to her a few times. The usual stuff. He asked her how school was going, if she had a boyfriend, what she thought she might major in. He got one word answers to every query, and after a few tries, he gave up.
Then they were on the bus. Nothing but open road between them and Washington, D.C., twelve hours away.
Roger held his bowler hat on his lap. Becky had found a power outlet under the seat that Roger never would have guessed existed. The cord snaked up from below her, curled around her lap a few times, and plugged into her phone.
“What are you looking at there, Becks?”
“It’s just Instagram, Granddad.”
Becky smiled. “It’s okay, Granddad. It’s not for you. You wouldn’t get it.” Roger considered the statement and decided she was probably right.
They rode on in silence for a while. The whole bus was quiet. That wasn’t too surprising for a 6:00 am departure. Across the aisle from Roger, two elderly people were sleeping. About forty five minutes into the ride, the man woke up. He looked around for a few minutes, just blinking, as if he couldn’t remember where he was or what he was doing there.
There but for the grace of god, Roger thought. Then he remembered his reasons for the trip. Not everybody gets the chance to grow old.
And there was another thing. Roger was about to have is 72nd birthday. Those folks across the aisle didn’t have too far of a head start.
Before long, the man’s confusion seemed to clear, and he turned to Roger. “Heading to DC?” he asked.
“Yeah,” Roger replied. “I’m taking my granddaughter to see some of the monuments.” Becky raised one hand in greeting, but did not look up.
“Oh I heard they’re beautiful at night. We’re going to see our daughter. She’s turning 60 next week.”
“Wow,” Roger said. He couldn’t imagine having kids who were sixty. Although, Becky’s mother was 47. Suddenly 60 didn’t seem so far off.
“Never thought we’d live to see the day,” the old man mused, echoing Roger’s thoughts. “But living to a ripe old age is a privilege denied to many.”
Roger nodded and sunk into his thoughts.
The bus rolled into Union Station at 7:34 pm. “Less than two hours late, Becks. That must be a record.”
Becky unplugged her phone from the hidden outlet and turned off the screen. “I need to make the battery last so we can take photos,” she said.
They made their way to the Metro station and bought two fare cards. “We have to change at Metro Center,” Becky said.
The stations were close together, and they emerged from Smithsonian Station just as the sun was setting behind the Washington Monument. Then they began to walk.
They mostly kept to the paths that crisscrossed the Mall – around the pearly white obelisk of the Washington Monument, down through the World War II memorial, with its proud columns representing the states and territories, and along the side of the reflecting pool which, true to its name, shimmered with the light of the full moon. It was slow going. The cancer made him weak.
Roger paused to admire the Lincoln Memorial, which rose up regally just ahead. Then Becky touched his arm. “Granddad, it’s over here.” She led him off to the right, and suddenly there it was – a long black chevron of a wall – the object of his quest.
They walked up and down the wall 20 times. Roger couldn’t say if Becky’s battery had survived the walk or not because her phone stayed nestled in her bag.
Finally she turned to him with tears in her eyes. “Why did you want to come here, Granddad? It’s so sad.”
“Becky, these were my friends. I came to remember them.”
About Prompt-A-Day: The rules are simple. Every day, I generate a prompt using Story Shack’s awesome writing prompt generator. Then I set a timer for one hour. At the end of the hour, I post what I’ve got. Sometimes it’s decent. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes I fail at the prompt. Sometimes I do okay. I do not edit, unless I find a typo, because I can’t help fixing those. Feel free to join in and post a link to your writing in the comments.