Exclusive Excerpt from Caregiver
by Rick R. Reed
The next day, Dan drove north on Florida State Route 75, heading up to Raiford. The day was cloudless, the sun baking the flat lands stretching out on either side of the road. Every once in a while, Dan would spy an armadillo scurrying along the side of the road. Slash pines, palms, and cypress trees lined the highway, stalwart sentinels against the heat. Every once in a while, a billboard interrupted the tropical foliage and broad expanses of rough grass. He passed exits for towns with names like Wesley Chapel, Ocala, and Gainesville. Strip malls, motels, and fast-food joints dotted the landscape here and there.
The humid, hot air tousled Dan’s hair as he drove, all four windows down, making him feel like he was in some sort of oversized convection oven.
He was not listening to music. He was not counting the bugs splattering on his windshield. He was not recalling his boss’s dismayed reaction when he had called in sick this morning.
He was not thinking.
He knew from his calculations that the drive would take approximately three hours, which was a lot of time to think, to worry, to cry. He didn’t want to do any of those things. He wanted to be strong, confident, calm, and compassionate.