Reading Break

by Kyla

It’s been a bit quiet here at onefinalyear as I spent the first two weeks of February quite sick. But I managed to rally just in time for reading break (which, frankly, sounds a bit suspicious but it is what it is, I swear) and headed off for an impromptu trip to Yakima, Washington with the girls to visit my brother. This seemed like a super idea.  I had a week off of classes (although with a fair amount of work to do what with all the sickness previously), the girls had a couple of pro-d days off from school, and me, two girls, a three hundred mile drive – what could possibly go wrong?

The weather in Nanaimo was fabulous. The weather in Yakima was fabulous. We packed up some peanut butter and jelly on homemade buns and headed off with due optimism. We took the Coho out of Victoria and hit Port Angeles 1230 last Friday. I was certain we’d be in Yakima by 430. We saw the “welcome, Twilight fans” signs, evidence that Port Angeles was optimistic about reaping the benefits of its close proximity to Forks, and wished we’d brought a camera. We drove south towards Tacoma and were enveloped in a rain so heavy my windshield wipers, on high, could not quite keep the windshield clean. I had to go to the bathroom, suddenly, in all that rain, but decided to wait until we got … somewhere. Somewhere where I wasn’t nervous about driving. The I5 was clogged; the 14 kilometres we needed to be on it took us 45 minutes, but at last we were heading towards Auburn, where we met the first of the snowfall that would beat against us the whole way across Snoqualmie Pass and right to my brother’s front door.  We arrived at 615; I’d had to go the bathroom for the last four hours. But what plagued me wasn’t my bladder. What plagued me was the realization that we had to drive all over again, that we were essentially trapped in the Washington desert until I was brave enough to cross the pass again.

I kept checking the weather report, and Snoqualmie kept getting winter storm advisories. We delayed our return, and delayed our return. This was not so arduous; staying in Yakima meant spending more time with my brother and his girlfriend, their two delightful dogs, their cats that purr energetically against your legs. We slept for hours and watched and I read five A. Lee Martinez books and bought Easter candy at Target. I booked the Coho ferry for Sunday, figuring surely, surely, there would be a clear spot then. The weather report Friday morning suggested it would be so. But today I woke up and double checked the weather. It’s not looking so good for Sunday. Traction tires are required. What are traction tires? Are those winter tires? Because I have winter tires. Chains are required. I don’t have chains. I don’t know how to put chains on. I can buy chains today, and they will stay safely in my trunk unless I put on my pathetic face and flag down a passing motorist to help me put my chains on in the blinding snow of Snoqualmie Pass.

I’m wondering if we should come back on Monday, which would mean I would miss even more classes than I have already missed. I am supposed to graduate this semester, which means it is preferable, nay, necessary, that I don’t flunk any of my classes. But if we can’t get out Yakima, if we’re doomed to stay here, chasing dogs around the yard and overdosing on Hershey’s chocolate eggs, if I have no option but to spend another week sitting around in my underwear and my brother’s old tube socks playing Modern Warfare 3, I think my chances of graduation will exponentially decrease.

Oh, the knuckle-gnawing indecision. Oh, how I look forward to when my oldest daughter is sixteen and with a driver’s license, so I can dose up on Ativan and pass out in the backseat while she white-knuckles it over strange and unfamiliar mountain passes.