Feeling relieved, I sauntered out of the bathroom, onto the cool night sidewalk with my best attempt at holding my head high. Crossing paths with Alex’s mother on the way, she asked if I felt better. Without revealing too many details, I said, “Yes, something like that.”
Practically mauling Alex down on the way back to the car, I begged him for some change to go get a water from the vending machine, convinced that it would keep my sickness at bay. At this point, the consumption of what I thought was a harmless, delicious McDonald’s Happy Meal seemed lightyears in the past, and I now only remembered it with a tinge of happiness for what it once was, but now had become.
As I hopped back into the car, feeling as though my body was now equipped with sickness-fending super powers, I had yet to realize that the worst was yet to come. You see, if you’re Alex’s parents, you choose the most remote, nuclear power plant-warmed lake to build a house on. This means that, after exiting the comfort of the paved, more or less straight-shooting roads, you then must stare straight into 50 mph winding death traps. Before leaving the safety of the streetlights, we decided to forego dinner in exchange for some nourishing gas station snacks. Still feeling slightly health empowered, I settled on my standard nighttime craving, an ice cold serving of milk. Quickly downing the bottle, I made amends with the vehicle that had so far been responsible for fueling my sickness and buckled up for the remainder of the ride.
Let me just tell you: I learned that milk is probably the worst enemy of an agitated stomach. Of course, I didn’t actually realize this fact until the twisty roads were upon us and I could do nothing but pray to God that I would not soil the nice Lexus with the inside of my stomach. Focus, Taylor. FOCUS. FOOCCCCCUUUUUUUSSSSSSSSSS. With every bend and passing headlight, I pressed onward, attempting with every last piece of might I could muster to not be that girl - the one who can’t handle road trips, or the one that has such anxiety in new settings with new people that she absolutely loses it.
Finally, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Ten more minutes. Detecting my obvious discomfort after having watched me struggle from minute 29 on, Alex had been continually asking me in a hushed tone if I was okay. I lied to myself, said I would be able to do it. We were so close! “I’m fine,” I told everyone. The car wandered ahead; I continued to, in an agonized fashion, suppress my less than well balanced food choices of the previous eight hours.
T-minus three minutes ’til destination:
“Alex, I think I need to—STOP THE CAR! STOP THE CAR! I NEED TO GET OUT…NOW!!!!”
“But we’re almost there…” says Alex’s dad.
I bolted out. Dignity ferociously betraying me, the second I made it to the bushes, I lost it…and then some more. For a good minute and a half, I would say, it was nonstop. In plain view of the car, I’m sure the family twiddled their thumbs nervously, no one wanting to comment on the obvious. After two minutes or so, I think they started to worry and sent Alex after me. Calmness, coolness and collection had left the building at that point, as he helped me back to the car.
“I’m really sorry…really sorry. I feel a lot better,” I tried to dissolve the tension gently.
Sure enough, three minutes later and we’re pulling into the driveway. Knowing that I had many points to regain before being considered a worthy companion for their son, I jumped out of the car and loaded as many bags as I could over my shoulders to help cart inside. While admiring the beautifully woodworked house, I set the bags down. Not a minute later, I heard the slow scooting of a fabric bag across the ledge and—CRASH! Alex’s mom’s Monday-Sunday pill holder went crashing to the ground. The pills scattered everywhere. Frantically trying to continue my attempt at helpfulness, I immediately knelt to the ground, trying to scoop all the pills up, possibly because I was hoping that the quicker I picked them up, the less likely people would notice, or at least the less disastrous of an offense I would had committed.
Obviously annoyed, Alex’s mom slapped on a forced smile and try to mask her irritation as I flailed around, my unwashed vomit hands furiously trying to replace her pills.
After that, instead of feasting on cheese and crackers and carousing around the kitchen with the family, I decided to bow out and head for bed with my head barely clearing my knees. I could only bet they would have a hot topic of conversation that night, and hoped Alex would survive the ridicule.
Luckily, the rest of the weekend went well, in between my frequent sleeping spells and lingering nausea. The picture to the left was taken on the last day of our trip, and I don’t think either of us was faking our happiness, so I think that’s a good sign for future visits.
With this bit of background, I’m hoping you can entertain the anxiety I’m feeling about reuniting with the family again this weekend, and wish me luck in the process! I think it’s safe to say I will be laying off the Mickey D’s this time.