Found by Chance
Author's note: I wrote this because I miss my home and I went through these same struggles. It helps to write... Show full author's note »
Leaving HomeThrowing the last of her bags into the car with a thud, Briar Thomson turned around to face the ocean. ‘That’s last I’m going to see of that for a long time’ she thought with a sigh. The warm breeze made small waves swell on its bright blue surface. Her dog, Timber, loped lazily up to her, with a sad look in his scruffy face. Briar bent down and petted him behind his ears. He stuck out his big pink tongue and licked her hand. He seemed to know something was up. She closed her eyes and lean her back against the car’s warm side, listening to the wind rustling the trees and the quiet waves hitting the shore, Timbers soft fur rubbing between her fingers. Her brother walked noisily out of the house, banging the screen door into the chipped side of the house, interrupting her minute of calm. He had already started annoying her, and they had not even gotten on the road yet. Jacob was three years younger than Briar, and you would think him being twelve and all, he could manage sitting still for over ten minutes, but he couldn’t. Jacob ran over to the car, stuffing his Gameboy into the front seat and loudly claiming it as his. Briar didn’t want to be leaving home, she was happy in her life as it was now. She didn’t want to move with a relative that she hardly knew, but her parents had explained over and over that it was for her own good, that living somewhere bigger would be better for her. She really didn’t want to leave her safe island that she had lived in for her entire life. All her friends were here, and making friends had never been Briars strong point. Just thinking about starting at a new school made her sick.
Jacob was bouncing up and down in the car, waiting for their dad to come out of the house. In his true fashion, Gary was running late. He had spent the last few minutes running around gathering up everything and trying to find the dog. He came outside, tripping over the stairs, and came running down the front path barefoot, calling Timber’s name. Timber perked his ears up, but stayed put at Briars side, not moving. Finally Gary found the dog and managed to drag him away into the house, all while yelling at the two kids to hurry up and get in the car or they were going to make them all late. Rolling her eyes, she jumped into the back seat and snapped on her seat belt. Trying not to think about leaving her home, she tried to start a conversation with Jacob.
“So are you excited to get on the boat?” She asked in her most cheerful voice.
‘Uhh, Sure....” He managed to mumble, and then turned back to his game.
Good conversation, she thought. Quickly combing her fingers through her short, sun bleached brown hair, Briar turned her attention to what was going on outside with her father. He was locking up the house and trying to juggle his coffee mug and bags all in the same hand. Only her father would think to make himself coffee on a scorching day like this! He then got into the car after wrestling with the bags in the back, trying to make room for his suitcase. Gary started up the car and turned on the radio, blasting the classic rock station. Pulling out of the gravel driveway, Briar tried to swallow her choking tears down, looking out the window at the home she had know for all her life turn smaller as they drove away. Turning her attention to the ocean, she watched the deep blue wave’s crash onto the white sand of the shore.
Getting on the boat took longer than normal; the hot sun seemed to make everyone lose their brains. Gary finally pulled their beat -up car into the inside of the boat, and made their way up to the top of the ship to find their cabin. They pushes their way past people shuffling around in the main lobby and managed to get to the cabins with little bruising. Grabbing top bunk before her brother got it; Briar sat down on the bed and tried to calm herself down. She was breathing fast. She could not tell if she was doing it because she was leaving home, or because she heard someone talking about the stormy weather that was supposed to hit, and the mere thought of rocking back and forth on a boat in the middle of a storm at night made her sick to her stomach! Were they lived, weather could blow in on even the nicest days like today, and cause the calm ocean to turn in to a swirling, furious mass of water.
After a while, the boat took off from the dock, and Briar stood on the deck watching her home disappear into the horizon. The sun was starting to set, and the deck was turning cold, so she walked back into the cabin. Changing into her pyjamas and crawling under the scratchy bed sheets, she tried to sleep staring at the ceiling. But she could not close her eyes as she felt the boat being rocked back and forth. The warning was right; there were waves. She lay awake in a cold sweat, thinking up scenarios in her head, all of them ending up with the boat flipping and everyone drowning in their sleep. She furiously bit her nails, a bad habit she developed for some reason. She threw a tanned arm over her face, trying to block out the light coming from the deck.
“The least they could do is turn off the damn light so I can sleep through these waves.” Briar said out loud. She was met with her dad and brothers snores from the bottom bunks.
Rolling over in the cramped bunk she finally managed to drift off into a light sleep, only to be jarred awake by a loud voice over the intercom. “We’re SINKING” was the first thought that came to her head, but it was only them telling everyone that they were docking in an hour. Groggily stumbling to the bathroom, congratulating herself on living through the night, Briar splashed water on her face, trying to wake up. She managed to flatten her short hair and brush her teeth, motivated by the idea of coffee and donuts for breakfast!
Making their way down to their car, Briar trailed behind Gary and Jacob. Gary’s black hair was standing on end. Briar still did not get how her father’s hair was still all black, with no gray to be seen.
Briar was still half asleep and didn’t notice the stairs quickly approaching her feet. Gracefully managing to trip over her bag, the rim of the stairs and her own feet, she crashed right into her dad, falling on her knee and causing people behind her to grunt ‘clumsy kid’. Face flaming, she picked herself up and made it to the car without further embarrassments. The large doors at the end of the boat opened, and the typical morning fog of a coastal town leaked in. The gray mist surrounded the car as they pulled off the ramp. By now Jacob had completely woken up, and had started to chatter about what type of donut he was going to get, and incessantly asking if he could get anything with coffee in it. He was met by sleepy “no’s” from Gary.
After waiting in the huge drive through line up to get their breakfast, they made their way out onto the four lane highway. It hit Briar that it was for real; she was officially headed to Airdrie, Alberta. The `big` city, as Jacob referred to it as. The sun had started to rise, casting warm rays of light through the tinted glass onto Briars forehead. She started to day dream about back home, the long summer hours spent on the beach with Timber, or the many times she and her friends had all sat on the old dock in the balmy summer weather. Or the many baseball tournaments she had competed in with her best friend of five years. She started to miss everyone back home, her friends, her pets, and most of all her mum. Her mother, Katee, had stayed behind, partly because her parents were split and it would be awkward going on a road trip with her dad, and because of her job. Briar mum Katee worked as a biologist and was often away on work. It was hardest to say goodbye to her mum. The fact that she was not going to see her until who knew when was sickening to Briar. Now it felt to her as though she was being driven to execution or something equally awful. The full force of leaving hit Briar abruptly. It felt like a semi truck had driven full force into her chest. For a second she could not breathe, all the air taken out of her body. She was leaving, leaving everything she had grown up with since day one! Briar tried to calm herself by taking control of the radio, and slipped in her favourite CD, and let that lull her into another world, one filled with long summer days on the beach and happy memories at home. She felt her eyelids drooping and was too exhausted to try and fight it. Closing her eyes, she sunk into a deep sleep.
Briar woke a few hours later to find her dad shaking her shoulder trying to wake her. She peered around her dad and saw that they were parked in front of a diner, with a bright sign announcing that they served “The World’s Best Coffee.” Briar managed to get out of the car and they walked into the restaurant. Inside there were the typical patrons you would expect to see in a small town diner. A man in a cowboy hat sat in the corner near the window, his belt buckle shining. A waitress sat at the counter, watching to news with an intent face, and an old couple with matching sweatshirts sat in the middle of the room. Jacob made his way to a seat near the window, and they took their seats. The waitress meandered over to take their order, flirting with Gary and checking out his many tattoos on his arms. In his day he had been a biker, wore the whole leather getup and took trips all over the place with his bike. That was before he met Katee and had Briar and Jacob. Now he was like any middle aged man. Finally the waitress walked off with their orders, and they soon all had big sandwiches stuffed to the brim with all sorts of veggies, and cool glasses of water sitting in front of them.
“So guys,” Gary asked “I was thinking about camping out tonight, sound like a good idea?”
Briar had been raised camping and had never mined the outdoors. Jacob was a different sotry on the other had. As a little kid, he had gone camping on a trip with teh school. Jacob, in is normal enegetic fashion had ran off into the woods in a hide and go seek game. It turned out that he ended up getting lost for the day and everyone had to find him. From then on, Jacob never liked camping and stayed close to the tent when they did.
“As long as we get a good campsite, I hate when we get one filled with loud little kids and mosquitoes and have to deal with their screaming all night!” Jacob said.
Both Gary and Briar were surprised that Jacob was agreeing with Gary’s plan.
Gary got up to pay the bill, and Jacob and Briar ran out of the diner, racing to the front seat. Briar beat him to it naturally, mostly because she was bigger than him (but not by much) and could push him away. Gary came out and unlocked the door and Briar slipping into the front seat. She turned to give Jacob a smug face, and he promptly gave her the finger. Turning back, rolling her eyes, she turned her attention to the CD player. Briar put in her U2 CD and immediately started to sing along at the top of her lungs. They drove out of the small no name town, and turned onto the highway.
The sun started to set when they pulled into a campsite off of the highway. It was fairly deserted, except for a couple families in their campers a few sites over. They struggled to put up the tent in the growing darkness, and they had to swat mosquitoes away from their faces. When the tent was put up, they sat around the picnic table and had a spaghetti dinner they had to cook over the fire. They all looked up at the huge mountain rising above the entire site. It’s snowy peak visible in the clear night sky.
When they had finished they shoved the dirty dishes into the car, planning to clean them in the morning. They all climbed into the tent and fell soundly asleep, exhausted from the day of travelling. But what they had all forgotten about was the pot of sauce left on the table. In the middle of the night, Briar woke up to a strange sound outside the tent. Quickly waking up her dad and Jacob, they all looked out of the little window on the tent, and to their horror, saw a huge grizzly bear crouched near their table, eating the pasta sauce out of their pan. They all froze with faces all bearing stupid looks of terror. The bear was enthralled in his pasta sauce, but after finishing his gourmet dinner, he walked around the tent, sniffing all the while. He finally noticed the three people cuddled in fear. He gave them a quizzical look, and tilted his head, staring right at them in amazement. The Thompsons stayed stock still. The bear finally walked off, becoming bored with the people in the tent. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief and quickly grabbed their blankets and ran to the car. Sleeping in the safety of a car would be a better idea than risking being eaten by the bear coming back for seconds. Cramped in the small car, Briar slept through the night with dreams of bears dancing around in an Italian restaurant and eating people’s dinners.