Ten years ago, I wrote a novel. Three months later, it went missing. Never to be found, until this very moment. Still lost, however, a couple of pages clearly survived the journey back to my hands.
Although, I didn’t understand what he was saying at the time. It seemed logical at first, but once you try and emphasize it, then maybe, just maybe, you could get a glimpse of not his reality, but your own reality. I looked at my watch and it reads 8:15am. The perfect time for scrambled eggs, bacon and half burnt sausage washed down with a cold refreshing glass of orange juice. I looked out the window and try to catch a glimpse at the car next to me. Its licenses plate reads “Illinois 139-4986.” Four days, and we’ve already made it though five states.
Vinnie told me that this cross-county road trip to Seattle, WA would take us 2 weeks. With no knowledge of the “important stops” we needed to make along the way, I never knew what he meant by “important stops.” I found him strikingly odd at the time, but what can I say, he’s my big brother. And the fact that he actually brought me on this road trip was fulfilling for me.
I looked at the watch. It reads 5:21pm. The sounds in my stomach were not affected by the tasty breakfast I had earlier. I was still hungry. With only 30 minutes away before we pass the borders into Iowa, a giant red sign right outside of Galesburg caught my attention: Phantom Fireworks. My pupils lit up like a firecracker bruning at the fuse. I turn to my brother and try to turn his attention from the desolate broken down road to the giant billboard. He turned to me, and surprisingly asked me if I minded making a quick stop. The sound of whistles and colored flames and sparks went off, inside my head like a firework show in Madeira, Portugal at the New Years’ Eve celebrations. My brother rotated his body to view his blind spot, and then made his way towards Exit 6.
We pulled into a parking lot, an Indian reservation. A combination of gravel, glass and dust covered the entire lot. Infested with cigarette butts and empty soda bottles and crumbled up receipts. There were no yellow lines to make up a parking spot. What you would have to do is find a car, any car in the lot, and just park next to it. Nobody minded the arranged chaos of this parking lot. What people loved is the not having to pay any taxes, and the fact that it’s legal.
We got out of the car. As I zealously walked towards the automated doors, I looked at my watch; it reads 5:32pm. My stomach craved for a bag of chips, but my mind craved for some store bought fireworks. And as they say, “the mind is stronger than the body.” As we walked in, we stopped. The moratorium filled our presence, caused us to look at each other shockingly and silently. We both knew how we felt at this moment. We simultaneously looked away from each other. This store is not divided into aisles, it is only a giant 2409 sq. ft. of firecrackers, fountains, ground spinners, novelties, Poppers & Snaps, roman candles, rockets & missiles, the litany goes on. My favorites are Rockets & Missiles; they blast up into the night sky and a combination of bright lights and loud noises shout at the crowed below.
I hear my name. I turn around, and my brother waves a free hand to me while the other is occupied, holding 4 boxes. One is a bit tiny, another is medium sized while the other two are large sized. I walked over to him to join him in line.
“I manage to find four assortments” he said excitingly.
Assortments were always his favorites. Assortments are packages of fireworks that come in all sizes, prices, and types. They can range from $10 to $300 in price.Â Because all the fireworks come together in one box. They were his favorite because you get more for a cheaper price. They were my favorite also…..
“Here, stay in line while I go get the car”
He hands me the boxes. He takes out a bundle of money and shuffles though it. He pulls out 72 dollars and shoves it into my pocket. He power walks towards the exit like he was on a mission. And he was. Now I stand there in line, alone, excited, but alone. Both my hands were occupied. One of the worst feelings in the world just struck me. I just realized, I am a 15 year old boy with an armful of explosives. I am a 15 year old boy with a passion for fireworks and will not let anything get in its way. I am underage, and my brother is waiting outside in the car for me. My hands start shaking, my heart rate increases, I’m nervous, anxious and angry. I stare at the fireworks. I don’t see or hear or smell anything else. Each second is an hour long, each step is a marathon. I finally reach the front of the line. I gently place the boxes on the table. The cashier looks at me, then stares. I stare back. He twitches his head back. He gives me a weird look, he knows I’m way too young. He doesn’t make an attempt to grab one of the boxes to scan it. I’m still staring, nervously. When I was 10, I developed an involuntary twitch to my left eye. I turned 12, and the twitch never occurred again, until this very moment. The cashier stares at me with silence. I stare back. He didn’t even need to say anything; the silent stare gave it all away. I’m 15 years old, I need to leave ASAP!
I take 3 steps back; I turn around and position myself towards the exit. I looked at my watch, it reads, 5:58pm. The rest is predetermined.