I come from a family of six very large boys, and the most frequent response I get after divulging that information is “Oh your poor mother!” I smile and nod, thinking back on the good times I’ve had with my brothers, and that not-so-good vacation we took to Utah.
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It was one year ago that all six of us boys piled in the car and sat as content as crammed kids can sit in a 2008 model Honda Odyssey. Unbeknownst to us, however, there was an extra passenger in that car: A bug. It began, as all bugs do, on the rim of some cup or the knob of some door. Then it hitched a ride into the mouth of my ten year old brother Brooks, who said that he “felt fine, but just a little queasy,”
We pleasantly drove alongside the scenic view of Arkansas, enjoying the pines catching the beams of passing headlights. All was well until about 5 hours in… Brooks yelled “Roll down the window!” Before we knew it our beautiful drive was disturbed by the pleasant sounds and scents of vomit cascading like Niagara from the little boy’s mouth. I think it was the sudden brake of the car that gave the profuse projectile the necessary inertia to reach the back of my neck, maybe it was fate… Either way, it was gross.
Alas we got back on the road with 5 smelly brothers and 1 pleased looking ten year old, and by the grace of God and only two speeding tickets we finally made it to Utah. All of us were excited to enter our 5 star hotel, so you can imagine the look on our faces when we discovered our reservations were lost. “That’s okay!” my mom said optimistically. “We found a motel!”
The motel – if that’s what you call it – looked as if it was designed and fashioned to replicate the insides of a microwave. It had two beds and a bathroom fit for a mouse. I don’t remember who slept on the beds or what insect crawled on my arm as I fell asleep, but I do remember my sweet mother’s last words for the day, “Goodnight cruel world”
We rose with the sun to attend the wedding. I wrote and read a poem about how every effort on our journey here was worth the travel. I was wrong. We went back.
The Saharan heat of the “motel” must have incubated Brooks’ bug into Ebola because on our way back we were all nearly dead. Slowly but surely my heretofore resistant immune system began to cave in. We were about 500 miles from home when I felt it roll up my stomach. We all knew it was coming. Brooks, sitting in the back, was heard to say “Dad he’s about to blow!” My father swung the car to the side of the road but it was too late. My window wouldn’t roll down before my burger from dinner came up like a sailboat on a sea of green goop. I think it hit terminal velocity before smashing violently into Brook’s face. I was the last of six to throw up, in our hot, smelly 2008 Odyssey. I opened the door and looked up at the moon. Vomited. Looked at the horizon. Vomited. Looked at road. Vomited. At last I traced the lines in the stars, “What a beautiful night” I said, and gave one last involuntary ejection.
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