It turns out Easter is the busiest time of the year to go driving.
Our car crawled out of the city and upwards, toward the mountains. The threat of an afternoon thunderstorm didn’t help either, making the air thick with humidity.
“Get your foot off my leg!” shouted Meg. It’s not like I wouldn’t have heard her if she’d just spoken normally. I was sitting right next to her.
The reason she shouted wasn’t to alert me to the fact my foot was accidentally touching her leg. Not at all. It was to let Mum and Dad know that my foot was touching her leg. Under normal circumstances this wouldn’t have needed a shout either, however today was not a normal day for the Pitt family.
“I said,” she repeated loudly, “get your foot off my leg!”
“What’s going on back there?” was Mum’s muffled response. I think it was Mum. It was hard to tell because Dad’s ‘plan’ for fitting the camping gear in was to stick the three kids in the back seat and pack everything around us. Brandon’s blanket had been thrown over my head and for the last hour I’d been staring at a cartoon rabbit. I couldn’t see anything else. The air-conditioning didn’t stand a chance of reaching us in the backseat.
It was cramped, unbearably hot and, thanks to Meg’s yelling, loud.
“Tristan keeps kicking me!” yelled Meg, doing her best ‘fish thrashing about on dry land’ impersonation.
I wasn’t kicking her. The last thing I was interested in was messing with my sister. She has a black belt in retaliation. Anyway, I was too busy trying to keep the sweat out of my eyes. It just so happened the only comfortable spot for my foot was up against her because Dad had stuck an esky full of drinks between my legs.
The next time they’re going for the Guinness Book of Records for the number of people squashed into a car they should call my Dad for tips.
Dad took immediate steps to fix the ‘foot kicking’ thing.
“Stop kicking your sister,” he yelled. A natural born problem solver, my father.
An hour later, after a lot more yelling and the occasional empty threat from Dad (he’d have to unpack half the car just to find us), we arrived at the campsite. We tumbled out of the car like newborn calves on the discovery channel – wet, exhausted and unsteady on our feet.
I collapsed onto the ground and closed my eyes, thinking this weekend was starting out poorly and wondering what else could go wrong. Almost instantly, life decided to show me, as a shadow settled across my face.
I opened my eye to find a big lug of a kid glaring down at me. Worst of all, I knew the name of this particular lug. Bruiser Manger was a year older than me, although he was in my year at school. He wasn’t particularly good at schoolwork – his best subject was detention – but he ruled the lunch break with an iron fist.
“Looks like this weekend won’t be as boring as I thought,” he said. There was a sneer on his smug face. “I’ve got something to play with after all.”
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“Raising a family on little more than laughs”