She killed the engine. The already packed car sat idling for several minutes before she turned the key. The aging Toyota sputtered, then died. She thought she should say a prayer—she’d definitely need any help she could get.
Looking west out the passenger-side window she peered down a long back alleyway and a wave of nostalgia washed over her. That alley—it’s where she played hide-and-seek as a child, where she rode bikes as a tween, and where she snuck in after curfew as a teenager. The alley way knew her secrets, her dreams, her joys, her fears…it knew her.
And she was leaving the alleyway and the only life she’d ever known behind.
What if they hate me at college? she wondered. What if I don’t fit in? She was so excited when the letter came from Stanford. She screamed with excitement as shaking hands held the letter of acceptance, but now, the shy Idaho-born-and-bred girl of migrant farmers wondered if she could make the grade—literally.
I should call Mom—no, it’s time for the lunchtime rush. And, she thought, they’d said their goodbyes that morning before her mother left for work. Besides, sh remembered, she’ll be home for Thanksgiving—only three months away. Oh how she wished she could say goodbye to her father, but a drunk driver make that an impossibility.
Her dad…in all the excitement, she hadn’t even thought of him. All the preparations, the packing, getting the car ready for the trip—she had forgotten about her dad.
The girl glanced down the alleyway one more time, took a deep breath, and fired up the trusty engine. She’ll swing by the cemetery on the way out of town. After all, it’s only a few minutes out of her way.