a real-life adventure
Read Part XXII here.
Now available in ebook format!
Flashbacks in the rain continued until snow came. Ice was frightening, but it didn't send chills through me like the rain. I gradually did get braver. But my driving habits were not resurrected. Not yet.
In the spring, it was necessary to make a trip back to New Mexico, where I grew up. Normally, the drive took 10 to 12 hours, with rest stops and food breaks. This trip took nearly 16 hours, a new world record, I think. I stopped much more frequently. Not always at gas stations or restaurants. I pulled over to give my mind a break every once in a while. Driving had never been so tedious. So exhausting. There was nothing refreshing about it at all.
On the way to my old haunts, my nose responded to the ceaseless pressure by springing a leak outside of Pueblo. Not the snotty kind.
I used up all the paper towels and napkins in the car trying to keep blood off my clothing and the Ugly Duckling car. We pulled into the very next restroom-equipped place, which just happened to be Kentucky Fried Chicken, so I could clean up and try to stop the bleeding. I'm sure the employees and diners there thought I'd been beat up or worse. The kids tried to explain at the counter while I was in the restroom, but the stares and glares that followed us out of the restaurant told me the kids' explanation had not helped. Maybe diners and staff thought I was on drugs...
On the way back home two days later, outside of Trinidad, we caught up to a thunderstorm. I pulled over the very first safe place to do so, and I waited out the storm. The kids didn't seem to mind. I didn't have any flashbacks, and that was wonderful.
The kids made use of the down time by pooling their Starburst Fruit Chews and, for no apparent reason, wadding the two bags of soft candy into a softball-sized blur of sticky color, which they then proceeded to play volleyball with in the backseat. Yes. I'd pulled over in a rather morose mood, but I didn't stay that way for long. Once again, my kids prevented me from wallowing in a bad frame of mind.
In May, it was time for our annual trip to Moab. I really didn't want to go. One of the women I work with, Ardie, decided she would go, and she invited us to hike to Landscape Arch with her and her two kids if we met her there.
My kids had been looking forward to the trip for months, even though I tried not to encourage them. As the designated weekend grew closer, they began endlessly pestering me about details. Would we camp? Would we stay in a hotel? Could we have a pool? Could we have pizza while there? Would we hike? Would we bike? Would we four-wheel? Could we go rafting? Could we buy souvenir T-shirts?
The kids packed their backpacks. They filled every water bottle in the house and stuck them in the cooler. They pooled their allowance to buy ice. They packed the sleeping bags, tent and cooler in the car. They hung previous years' Moab photos all over the house. They drew pictures of arches and sunrises and plastered them all over the fridge. Taz put the bike rack on the car by himself, something he'd never been able to do before, and then he carefully loaded the bikes, just like I would have. Then he offered to help drive.
How could I refuse?
(Don’t get me wrong. I conceded on the trip to Moab. But I did NOT allow a 14-year-old to drive. At least not on THIS particular trip...)
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Copyright 2013 by Deborah and Brett Atkinson