It’s daytime. The sun is beating down hard. My backpack clings to my back like a heavy burden. My granny’s Yukon pulls up to the school, and I hop inside. She begins to drive. Realizes that I’m not buckled up, and commands that I do so. I refuse.
The air in the black SUV is hot, irritating, like a fly that can’t be swatted away.
“Don’t make me pull this car over,” she threatens. Even in the fifth grade, I know what that means, and the words invoke fear. Still, I stand firm. So, she pulls over, and gets out of the bulky vehicle.
I’m seated now, with my bookbag resting by my feet.
As she makes her way over to my side of the car, panic kicks in, and I lock her out. Keys in hand, she runs frantically around the vehicle. The panic has set in for her too, as she tries to open each door, but I dart between the driver’s and passengers sides of the car, pressing down each tab with my hand.
Traffic breezes by.