Clara was excited about the day and couldn't understand why the rest of her family wasn't. Or if they were, then they were excited in slow motion. She'd been up since before dawn and the morning had been an excruciating exercise in patience as she waited for everyone else to get up, linger over breakfast and take their time getting ready for the day. Now everyone was finally organized and they were able to set off on their little adventure.
The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. Even though it was still early, Clara could feel the warmth of the sun on her skin as they stepped outside and got into the car. They hadn't been in the car very long when Clara asked to roll down the windows. The sun was shining right on her and her bare legs were sweaty and sticking to the vinyl seats. Her dad didn't want the windows down while they were on the highway but he cracked open the little triangle window for ventilation and she did the next best thing: she rolled down her window and inch, took the short edge of her towel and shoved it in the crack then tried to hold it in place with one hand while she rolled the window back up with the other hand. It took about 10 minutes but she finally succeeded in blocking out the sun. The bonus was that the beach towel was long enough for her to sit on the end of it.
Peeking behind her innovative sun-block, Clara could see that they were just passing the mall and the A&W drive-in on the edge of town. A while later, they passed the signs to the little ferry, they passed through "In-and-Out" town (because you were out of it by the time you realized you were in it) and then drove along the shoreline. Why was it always low-tide when they drove this way? Clara hid her face in her towel, trying to filter out the stink of seaweed drying in the sun and whatever else it was that made that horrible smell. Then they passed the place with the goats on the roof and Clara knew that in a minute they would turn and head inland, away from the smelly beach. They were almost there!
"Can we get ice cream?!" Apparently not at ten o'clock in the morning, even on a hot summery day. But her parents promised they would stop later, on the way home. Clara knew that they would, that she wasn't just being placated, because not even her parents had the power to pass by the ultimate gas station ice cream store where you could get the biggest scoop of ice cream ever for just 25 cents. She, of course, would get licorice ice cream as she always did. It was black and looked disgusting (or so she was told) but it was, to her, a scoop of heaven on a cone.
All of a sudden, the car stopped. Lost in her ice cream daydream, she hadn't even noticed that they had reached their destination. She jumped out of the car as quick as she could, after untangling herself from the towel. Then she paused, took a deep breath, and looked up into the canopy of giant, ancient, moss-covered douglas fir trees. It made her dizzy to watch the trees sway that high up. As she walked with her family into the grove, the air grew moist and sounds were dampened. They tramped deeper into the woods along the trail and Clara knew that this was going to be a perfect day.
This was written for Mostly Fiction Monday. What's that,
you ask? It's a little something Stranger and Me cooked up. You can find
the story here. Today's post was inspired by the prompt Childhood.