You're stuck in traffic on some such highway headed north to Dean's house on the ugliest hill in Vermont. Dean was in that group of your friends who dropped out of your life when they turned 35. Dean was at least good enough to go and hole up in the middle of nowhere. The others just went about their lives, not changing a thing except for eliminating you from their immediate social circle.
Dean left town in a scary way. He started getting quieter and quieter, showing up less and less, then right at the point when people started filling conversation gaps with the "I'm worried about Dean" icebreaker, Dean sends out an email inviting everyone to come by his place cause he's giving away a lot of stuff. A week later he was gone.
The traffic's moving a little better now and you wonder if you're really worried about Dean or if you're just bored. You sent your first email to him a month ago without a reply, then you started sending him another every couple of days, demanding he reply.
Earlier this week, you wrote that if he doesn't write back, you're coming up to that shack of his and busting down the door. He didn't write back. Here you are on this stupid road. The leaves haven't even turned yet.
If Dean's dead, you're not sure what you're supposed to do. Did you drive all this way just to be the one who finds his body, dials 911, then drives back home? It's not like you're going to make the funeral arrangements.
His silence has lasted a month now. Were you thinking he's just been sitting on the floor, staring at your emails on his screen, rocking back and forth for weeks and weeks hoping you'll bust through the door and cheer him up?
What scares you the most is maybe you're only making this heroic, worried drive because you didn't go anywhere this summer and you wanted to take a trip. You're worried that you didn't want to save your friend so much as you wanted to get the weekday rate on a Zipcar. Before pulling out of town you considered stopping at the Apple store to get a car adapter for your iPod, but you knew you wouldn't have been able to live with yourself if you had stopped for the adapter and then shown up to find Dean freshly deceased.
"Had I only arrived five minutes sooner..."
Whatever the reason you took the trip, you're here now, here at Dean's. You've just turned off the engine. The light's on in the living room, but you can't see him. That light doesn't need to be on, the sun's shining bright through his many windows. You instantly decide it's been left on for days and nights and Dean really did pack it in.
You escape from your seatbelt and roll out of the car. You drop your keys in the dirt driveway and scrabble around for them. When you stand back up, Dean's standing in his open doorway. He's been waiting for you.
"I was gonna reply, but you said you'd come up if I didn't reply, so I didn't reply."
Dean's excited to have a houseguest. He has lunch ready.
Happy Long Drive Just To Find Out If A Friend Is Alive Or Not Day!