Driving with My Mother- Part 5
Part 4 here.
Later that summer, you picked me up in Vermont where I was visiting Grandma, and we drove down the coast to Florida with Dad and Kiefer. My two oldest cousins were getting married in Orlando that weekend: one to his middle school sweetheart, the other to the girl he knocked up. We had a few days so we we decided to forego I-95 in favor of a night on Cape Hatteras, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We played the Counting Crows and drove down islands so narrow you can see water on either side of the road. Open water makes me nervous, but I love it, like standing at the edge of an escarpment. The sea threatens to consume me like gravity threatens to consume the space I occupy between the ground and the sky.
You and Dad spent a lot of time talking about the weddings. Amy and Adam had been dating since they were fourteen, and he proposed to her at your parents’ house at Midnight on the Millennium. David and his pregnant fiancee had been dating only a few months. He was nineteen and she was seventeen. So young. But you were barely seventeen when you met my father in college and he was only twenty. He says he first saw you while you were sitting on a brick wall outside the Sigma Chi fraternity house smoking a cigarette. You wore a white button up shirt, a tapestry skirt and clogs with wooden soles. So young.
Dad followed you and Brutus, back to Colorado. You got caught in a blizzard in Idaho, and the snow was so thick that the only clues to where the road went were the tail lights of the car ahead. Brutus’ heater had broken sometime after the 5,000 mile road trip to Alaska, so you drove wrapped up in a sleeping bag. The car in front of you lost its grip and slid off the road, and Brutus slid too when its brakes failed. Dad, in his Subaru, blindly followed your tail lights into a ditch.
You were married a few months before you were legally allowed to drink the champagne at your wedding toast. Sixteen years later, we sat on a beach eating pieces of blue crab from the Chesapeake on Trisquits, pretending not to care when the wind blew grains of sand into the open container of crab meat.
My shoulders blistered and peeled while my brother’s skin appeared slightly bluish and sickly. The sunscreen that I had neglected to put on but that had diligently been applied to Kiefer’s chest, back, and face was that Coppertone spray kind that would be blue when you put it on so that you could see the spots that you missed. It was supposed to fade away, but never fully did, making him look hypothermic. We were quite the pair, me lobster red, Kiefer frozen blue. We were so young.
4/27/2023 09:27:46 pm
❤️Adam & I actually started dating when we were 17. Juniors in high school. He had only moved to FL from CO Sophomore year. (Daniel & Amanda met in middle school) *sigh* He was the "new kid" & everyone thought he was soooooo cute. Of course I did, too, but I wasn't one to swoon & appear desperate. We ended up hanging out in the same friend group. I had a boyfriend but like 2 weeks after we broke up, he swooped in. After a 9 month relationship I "didn't want anything serious, just someone to hang out with" and he agreed. We were inseparable after our first date and he gave me a promise ring 3 months later. 3 years later the official engagement was at Nana's on NYE of the millennium. He put the ring in my champagne glass. There's an entirely different story to go along with that. Lol. After 4 years together we were finally married. At the time 21 felt so old.... At age 43 I know we were so very young, but we were headstrong & committed with dreams. So, here we are 22 years later (this July). We were so young.
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The day-to-days of an Itinerant Illustrator