Remember my brother? The one I always fought with?
Well, one satisfying thing about having a brother is that sometimes, you can get him into trouble without ever really trying.
One late summer morning when I was 9, Mom asked if I wanted to go for a drive with her and one of her cronies. Having planned nothing for the day but lamenting the approach of another school year, I agreed.
Relegated to the back seat and slumped down so I was sitting more on my back with knees pressed firmly into the vinyl upholstery, we drove. And drove.
We found ourselves up country where there wasn't a lot to see apart from the odd scarecrow watching over a field of someone else's dreams.
Now and then we'd pass a roadside kid holding out a clear glass of hazelnuts for sale.
Then, at a little stand, we stopped and got out to buy some fresh fruit and I felt special when the farmer lady handed me the paper bag.
We each had a juicy plum from our bounty before heading back out on tour. Enroute and with nothing worth eavesdropping about, I sat back and ate a few more plums and reached for my a few of my favourite daydreams. Bored. Another plum. Boring. Two more. Maybe I shouldn't have any more, there's only one left. I'll save it for later.
Eventually, I heard rumblings that we should be heading back toward home. Following this was a very interesting noise I'd never heard my stomach make before. And then another. And one more that didn't sound right at all. Uh oh, how far could we be from home and a bathroom I wondered?
As my fear began to rise, introductions were made: Car? Meet gravel covered road. With every rock and bump, I thought my bowels might betray me. I was too embarrassed to say anything in front of company and what would we have done anyway? Stopped by the side of the road? I settled for alternating between doubling over in pain and crossing my legs and turning a lovely shade of plum.
Every mile that passed felt like a prison sentence that got longer rather than shorter. I made deals with myself about how much further I could make it and then I'd start over with each small success.
After just less than an eternity, we made it back to the land of smoother roads and places I recognized. Mercifully, I could see our house in the distance.
When we finally neared it, I spied someone in front through my squinting eyes. The car was still rolling to a stop when I bolted and ran as fast as I could in my condition.
It was my brother near the front door kicking at the lawn absent mindedly. He looked up at my approach and said heyyy, where did you guys go?
The pressure that had built in me over the last 40 minutes took me to a point where this extra half second delay was something I hadn't counted on. What else could I do but burst into tears and like a lunatic, push him aside and beeline for the bathroom?
I made it.
The only thing sweeter than my relief was hearing my mother yell what did you say to him? what-did-you-say!? followed by the thwack of her hand against the back of his head and my brother's wail of nuthin! honest!