Email from Michelle Obama

The subject line of the email from Michelle Obama read “Let’s go, Stephanie,” and Stephanie felt a small, unexpected surge of pure joy course through her solar plexus. Road trip! With Michelle! And they were probably going to go west and they were probably going to be driving an old Saab, the kind with the standard gear shift up on the steering wheel column. Stopping to sit at a picnic table in some old, dusty, nowhere town outside Sausalito, sharing tacos and a cold bottle of Modela Negra… It’s funny how life works, how dreams converge. For six of the past eight years in the Whitehouse, Michelle has longed to tie her hair back with a bandana, go makeup free, say “see ya!” to the staff and even to Barry and the girls, just for a bit, and just be an unknown citizen out in the world with a flip phone and eating soft tacos, thinking about nothing much more than the color of the sky at the horizon. It’s the palest blue out here, tinged ever so slightly with peach. And for those same six years, Stephanie has wanted nothing more than to step off the conveyor belt of pop culture trashiness and clocking in to work at the restaurant, and putting highly poisonous flea and tick medicine between the shoulder blades of a dog she never should have adopted in the first place. She’s wanted to step off that conveyor belt and into the desert. Into space and quiet and slow-approaching death and peace, with the First Lady. There’s no one Stephanie would rather be silent with. Together, both without a lick of makeup on their faces, without a thought in their heads, without a plan or an agenda, they will finally drive and drive, humming along to classic country or old-time gospel on the radio. When it’s Michelle’s turn to drive, Stephanie will stick her arm out the open window and let the 80-mile-an-hour draft cary her arm aloft like it was a drinking straw.