We turned left, and then right, and then there were no more hotels, no more restaurants—nothing but a curving road.
The farther we went down that road, the more I worried about what my mother would think.
The trailer park was not a park, as I had imagined, but a series of crude terraces cut into the side of a steep clay hill, with a gravel road up the middle and a security light at the top of a telephone pole.
There were twelve trailers, six on each side, and the way they were placed on the hill, one above the other, meant nearly everyone could look down into someone else’s kitchen, living room, and bedroom. There had been talk of bears, and I hoped to see one in exactly those circumstances: from under the covers, safe inside our trailer.
Rule number one, he liked to say: Keep your options open.
My mother arrived two days later, in my father’s pickup truck.
I heard my father’s heavy step into the trailer, heard him return, and the passenger door opened once more. Reaching under the blanket, he set in my hand the stuffed creature I slept with. The first time I told this story, without a moment’s forethought, was ten years later.
She had confided something about her own parents, and we were, after all, in the dark, in the back of her mother’s car.
When we finally left the highway, he said, “Home at last.” There at our exit were three big hotels and a restaurant called the Kountry Kitchen and another called Noah’s and a go-kart track.
My attention lingered on the go-kart track, which was closed.