“We’re here,” Sophia’s mother said, gently touching her shoulder. Sophia woke slowly, lifting her head from the window of the passenger seat and tilting it toward the clock on the car’s center console. She squinted for a moment, then rubbed her eyes before the green blob of light became a readable LED display.
“Geez, Mom, it’s already tomorrow,” Sophia mumbled, still groggy.
“I know, honey. But we have to do this tonight. Come on.” Elizabeth Harris stared at herself in the rearview mirror, gazing into her own tired green eyes. It took a moment to convince herself, but eventually she unbuckled her seatbelt and got out of the car. The forest preserve parking lot was empty, save for them, and Elizabeth made sure to park as far from the area’s lights as possible. She opened the trunk and took out a leather handbag, which she slung over her shoulder, then walked around the car to the passenger door and opened it for her daughter.
Sophia looked up at her mother through overgrown chestnut bangs. “Is it going to hurt?”
Sleeping in on a weekday is so wonderful. My host had to work, so she took me out for breakfast before heading to the office. I spent my first morning in Fresno doing very little. After writing and an episode of Orphan Black, I got a little more up-to-date on my woefully unread RSS feeds and then decided to go for a walk before lunch. There was a large park within a mile of where I was staying, so I made that my destination and headed out.
Though the walk itself was uneventful, there were plenty of little reminders that I wasn’t in Illinois. Obviously, there was the weather and the vegetation. It’s nearly impossible not to have a massive palm tree in your line of sight. There were less tangible things, as well. The roads are wider, with more lanes in either direction. There is simply more space. I noticed the same thing in LA.
I'm visiting a friend in northern California. Guaranteed awesome.
Shortly before leaving for San Antonio, Amelia and I discussed what to do on our last day in Texas. She noted that she’d always wanted to visit Austin. I, too, have always wanted to see city that demanded things stay weird. Sure, it’s a hipster landmark, but it’s a hipster landmark in the middle of cowboy country. It had to be worth checking out, right?
I slept like the dead between day one and day two. Between waking up super-early and the many events of the day, I was thankful for the freedom to sleep in. I woke up some time around 7 AM feeling refreshed and excited for the day ahead. After a quick shower, I queued up the poem I’d be reading that afternoon and read it over and over. I knew I wouldn’t be able to memorize it in time, but being comfortable with the piece would be more than enough to make it look good. (Well, good enough.) Rain intermittently pattered on the balcony outside my room as a paced back and forth, playing with tone and emphasis.