The Scars Of D.C.

June 9, 2018: My alarm went off at 6 a.m. I woke up terrified. My hands were clammy, my hair was a mess and I was an overall wreck. I didn't know why I was so nervous. Then I remembered: that was the day I would travel across the nation...without my parents. When I got out of my bed, I finished packing my suitcase. While packing, I was daydreaming about what the future would hold. “Will my plane crash?” “What if this is the last time I see my parents?” “But what if this trip will be great?” I had mixed emotions. I knew the trip would be amazing but I didn't want to experience Washington D.C. without my parents. As a single tear rolled down the left side of my face, I broke down into tears. My thoughts were taking over and all of the sudden, my room was spinning. The next thing I knew was that I saw myself sitting on my suitcase crying into my knees. My world was collapsing. I begging my parents to not make me go on this trip, but they said I needed the experience of traveling and it would be good for me. Once I calmed down, I went about my morning. All while having a blank look on my face. When I walked downstairs, I found my sister sitting at the counter eating scrambled eggs and my mom making food for us to eat on the plane. My dad was not in the room. “Dad,” I yelled, curious of where he could be. I did not get a response. “Hey mom, do you know where dad is?” “He is loading up the car.” “Ok,” I said, remembering that he had gone into my room to get my suitcase when I was brushing my teeth. Once my dad had come into the house, my mom had finished packing our snacks and my sister ate all of her eggs. “Ok,” my dad said. “The car is packed up. Let's get out of here.” My sister and I had taken about five minutes to say goodbye to our dogs because we always gravitated back to them every time we stood up. When we arrived at my grandpa's house, his wife Willow, my step-grandma let us in. Her granddaughter, Ruby was sitting on the couch scrolling on her phone as my grandpa was sitting next to her watching the news. Then, we said our goodbyes to my mom and we were on our way to start our journey. When we arrived in D.C, the first few days were great. Then, all of a sudden, I woke up one day and everything took a turn for the worst. On the third day, my grandpa made us walk from our hotel room all the way to a restaurant that was an hour away. When we got there, there was one other family in the restaurant. It looked like it was from the 1800s. Old architecture, and candles as the lighting. I ordered a mac and cheese, and my grandpa ordered a burger with fries. Everyone else's food arrived first, and mine about 10 minutes later when everyone else had finished their food. I was very hungry from the trip to the restaurant because I had also twisted my ankle on the walk there. The next thing I knew, my grandpa was asking me to give him some of my small bowl of food, when he had already finished his meal to the point where there weren't even crumbs left. I told him that I was very hungry and would give him any leftovers I had. Right then and there, he started screaming at me and telling me that I was ungrateful and I was lucky that he took me to Washington D.C. While he was yelling, I started crying and the other family started staring and rushed out of the restaurant. Willow and Ruby were just sitting there quietly eating their food and my sister was crying and trying to defend me. The situation got so bad that the waitress came up to me and gave me a long tight hug. I could tell she felt my pain. They eventually kicked my grandpa out of the restaurant for causing a scene, so that meant I had to leave as well. We took the subway back and I cried the whole way home. Two days later we went to the pool in the hotel. I jumped in the pool and it was freezing so I quickly ran out and huddled a towel around my body. My grandpa started to yell at me again when I refused to go back into the freezing water. I ran into the hotel and found my way back to the room. I ran into my bed and called my dad right away as my sister was next to me and we were both crying hysterically. It was so bad that my parents were looking at airline tickets to come pick us up early. As I was on the phone with my dad, my grandpa walked into my room screaming at me because he found out that I had told my parents everything that happened. My dad heard the whole thing. It turns out my mom had called him while he was at the pool and he lied to her telling her that we were there and he was watching us swim. I waited for him to finish yelling and then hung up with my dad without saying anything. He then left the room. The rest of the trip got worse and was a complete blur to me. I couldn't wait to go home and did not say anything on the flight back to L.A. Once we exited the plane, my parents were waiting for us. I ran into their arms and into safety again. I have not talked to my grandpa, Willow or Ruby since that trip.

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Mike Lyles

Author of “The Drive-Thru is Not Always Faste...

Staresville, United States