“I really don’t feel well, I hope I’m not sick,” I said, lying on my sleeping pad, clutching my stomach.
“Can we just go?” Simon asked.
He was standing outside the tent looking in. The sun was just starting to rise behind the mountain to the east, it wasn’t even 6 am yet, Remy was asleep. He was still annoyed I made them sleep here last night, in the desolate, creepy, dark, scorching hot desert.
“I hope it’s not the fastfood we ate last night. Do you feel alright?” I asked Simon.
After one too many trips where one of us fell ill, I had stocked up on immunity building supplements, and the three of us had been popping pills on a daily basis. Then I broke my vow to not eat fast food on the trip when, after a late day at Zion National Park, we hit the drive through in an attempt to reach our campsite before dark.
I unzipped the tent and headed for the bathroom to assess my health. Yes, my fears were confirmed. I started to freak out, alone in the strangely air-conditioned bathroom, heaving my guts into the toilet. I was supposed to drive 350 miles today, to my parents house in southern California. The relief from the heat we had felt the moment we opened our eyes was diminishing just as quickly as the sun was rising in the sky. We couldn’t stay here. And I was the only adult. I was the only one able to drive the car.
Then, with that realization, I snapped out of it and transformed into Survivor Mama Bear. A plan started to formulate in my mind.
I walked back to the tent. “I really am sick.”
“You are?” Simon asked, his annoyance suddenly gone.
I felt better now but I could tell it wouldn’t last. Time was limited before I’d need to get back in the bathroom. “I need your help taking down the tent and packing up the sleeping bags and sleeping pads.”
A wave of nausea was coming over me again. With my energy draining, I half-frantically finished stuffing a sleeping bag into a sack. “Remy, wake up. Simon, help me pack up.”
The tent was cleared out when I emerged again from the bathroom. Remy and Simon stood silently looking at me.
We took the tent down quickly and I shoved everything in the back of the Subaru.
“Remy I need the bag from the t-shirt you bought, in case I need to puke while I’m driving.”
“Okay. Sorry you’re sick, Mom.”
On our way out we passed the only other inhabited site, the spot the campground host had made home. There were two RVs, noisy generators, a 4×4 truck and a set of motocross bikes. When we pulled in last night I felt contempt for whoever owned all that. On our way out, my feelings changed to affection. She had recommended we camp at the site nearest her, which also happened to be the site nearest the restroom.
(to be continued…)