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Opening Up - Car Trouble (Rewrite)

Squeezing my eyes shut against the glare of oncoming headlights, I dug my fingernails into the worn upholstery of the station wagon and prayed. Grandma was going to kill us.

Please God, send somebody to rescue us.

"Wrong lane!" my twelve-year old brother shrieked from the front passenger seat as horns blared.

An abrupt right swerve had the tires spinning. Was that black ice on the road? What did I know? This was the first winter I'd ever experienced.

How I hated Canada at that moment. It was a vast, frigid place where people spoke in weird accents, kids didn't wear uniforms and everyone drove on the wrong side of the road. It had been my parents' bright idea to move here six months ago. They said life in Trinidad was hard. But at least Trinidad had sunshine and warm air. And Grandma could drive in Trinidad.

"Press the brake!" my brother yelled.

But Grandma must have stepped on the gas pedal because the car continued to move forward, earning another blast of disapproving horns. Grandma stomped on the brake and my brother and I flopped like ragdolls against our seat belts.

“There’s your mom!” Grandma exclaimed and I dared to open my eyes.

We pulled up in front of a crowded bus stop. Grandma wound down the window and smiled at Mom, whose face was as white as the snow we'd seen for the first time that past weekend.

"I didn't want you to take the bus," Grandma said. Her breath puffed out white in the freezing night.

"Mammy," Mom said, her voice a mixture of fear, anger and undying love. "What were you thinking?"

Mom's eighteen-year old coworker drove us home but it wasn't until he'd left, with cab fare from Mom, that I let out an easy breath.

Was it just last night that we were laughing over Canadian customs officers confiscating the curried duck Grandma had lovingly cooked and brought for us from Trinidad? Was it just this afternoon that my brother and I had come home from school to the aroma of Grandma's sweetbread baking in the oven?


(c) Kristy Kassie, 2017


Opening Up

The start of a novel or longer story should encourage readers to read on. Would you read more of this story?

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