The Wait

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The mass of people stretches back, back, back, potentially to the Arizona state line, and I want no part of joining it. My mother, however, camera case and fanny pack strapped around her waist, feels differently. “Okay, everyone, you ready? This bus will take us up to Hopi point, and from there we’ll be able to walk to the rest of the observation points,” she cheerily explains, and my family falls into line behind her. I follow their lead, my sweat soaked shirt sticking to my skin and my eyes gazing absent-mindedly at perhaps the most beautiful natural wonder of the world, and I wish that I found it awe-inspiring, or breath taking, or gorgeous. I did, of course, earlier in the day, when I was seeing the Grand Canyon again after nearly five years, but by mid-afternoon we had been staring at this hole in the ground for nearly six hours, and our total walking distance was nearly eight miles. With temperatures near 80 degrees, obese tourists everywhere, and a lack of food, personally, I was sick of it.

I certainly wasn’t the only one. My twelve-year-old “I’m an insolent teen boy” brother was standing close by, arms crossed and scowl formed in an attempt to express his obvious displeasure. My mother’s gaze skips over him as she spins around in awe, taking in the sights but clearly ignoring the only ‘raincloud’ on the horizon. He finally speaks, his voice no more than a low growl, the words expressed through a hiss of teeth and snarled lips.

“And what exactly is the point of taking this bus? Why in God’s name are we going up? I thought the whole point of the Grand Canyon was to go down! I don’t want to take a crowded, smelly bus up to the top of some steep cliff so that I could look at the same things I can see from here! I don’t want to walk ten miles so that we can get to some other god-forsaken overlook and snack bar! I’m sick of standing here in this line, and I’m sick of these gross buses, and I’m sick of walking!” He shouted, and was promptly removed by my father, who smiled politely at the folks from Minnesota standing behind us while dragging him away by the cuff of his collar.

My brother’s sour face gone, the other, nine year old one, tugged on my mom’s sleeve. “Mom? Why would anyone ever jump off the side of the canyon? Wouldn’t you die?”

I sigh and turn away, wishing I wasn’t considering it myself. Family road trips are more painful than they initially appear to be.





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