There are moments in our lives, when we suddenly ‘know’ something that we didn’t even realize we were thinking about. It’s as if our brains, working subconsciously, process enough information to send out a message, ‘just in time’. It was one of those moments when I lifted the car door handle just until it clicked...and then I knew.
The rest stop was such an appreciated sight to our whole family. I don’t know how much liquid the kids had in their systems, but the large ‘bold and smooth’ coffee I’d enjoyed two hours before was not enjoyable any more!
Ben and the boys jumped out of the van immediately. I wasn’t as quick. Ben offered to wait, but I told him to go with the boys. I had afghan motifs in my lap along with a crochet hook, yarn, and the instruction book. Also slowing me down, I wasn’t accustomed to the placement of the ‘grab handle’ to climb out - the van was a rental.
Finally free of the vehicle, I drank in the sights and smells of the delicious day. The lovely myrtle trees, the emerald green grass - I didn’t mind at all that we hadn’t gotten a closer parking space. Vacation is so wonderful! If my bladder wasn’t working so hard I might have twirled around in the sun, but I had business to take care of.
Women and girls were moving in and out of the door as I approached. The facilities were ample for all our needs. I took my time doing what I needed to, even splashing my face with water and smoothing my hair.
As I walked back to the door to leave, a woman about my age was also leaving. She held the door and let me go first. “Thank you,” I said, smiling. I strolled out ahead of her and there straight ahead of me was the golden-tan rental. I smiled remembering how the guy at the rental place bragged on the color. He’d called it ‘Sun-Blissed Sand’! Sure, it was pleasant enough, but in my opinion, not all that unique.
I stretched, one more time as I walked the final few yards to the vehicle. I thought about giving Ben a break from driving and was about to open the driver’s side door and say, “Hon, why don’t you slide on out. I’ll take it from here.” Then I remembered all my stuff on the passenger’s side and so I walked to that door - which is when I had the ‘moment’.
The handle went click in my hand, the door was open about one inch.
Oh, my! Suddenly like waking from a dream, I knew. The car wasn’t in the right place, the man behind the wheel was not my husband, and those kids - looking out at me - wild-eyed - were not mine! Aughhh!
“I’msosorry!” I said. I tried to shut the door quietly and fast, hiding that I’d ever opened it. I turned away...but - I was a deer caught in the headlights! The woman who’d held the door for me at the rest room was hurrying toward me, toward this very ‘Sun-blissed Sand’ van, and she looked a little wild-eyed, too. (I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree).
“Do I know you?” she demanded.
“Um, uh, no,” I sputtered. “I thought this was my car - I mean our rental - we rented one.” (Ah, yes, I’m eloquent, too). I moved sideways away, wanting to run, forcing myself to walk - fast. Frantically, I scanned the parking lot wishing there wasn’t so much ‘Sun-Blissed Sand’.
Then, I saw it - yes, oh yes, Ohio plates, and yes my family! I hopped into the van on top of all my stuff, slammed the door shut and hunkered down.
“Are we ready? Let’s go!” My words tumbled out fast. I hoped we could get out of there without my ‘other family’ seeing where I went.
Ben studied me curiously; probably wondering what question to ask first. A van leaving the parking lot behind us helped him decide.
“What happened to you and why is the whole family in that van pointing and waving at us?”
He waved back, God bless him.
Me? I thanked God that my ‘moment’ of clear lucidity hadn’t included calling a strange man ‘Hon’ or offering to drive his car! And if we ever rent another car, it will not be ‘Sun-Blissed Sand'!
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