What got me most was the heat...
I never truly understood it when my dad told me that it would be hot! I figured, at thirteen and living in the Ohio summers, I would have been prepared for anything. Maybe some slight sweat that a few bottles of water would have quenched, maybe a little wipe off the brow, but NOTHING prepared me for the heat. My father had said that it would only be a short vacation since his doctor told him that he needed one. (What my father didn’t tell us was that the doctor actually told him that he needed to move to a warmer climate after his heart surgeries). We had just gone through a very harsh winter with icicles, snow storms, and the need for salted driveways and thick wool coats galore. So with my mom, my brother and I, we got into our small four door car and made the road trip to San Antonio, TX. The overall plan was to just visit for a few weeks. My father had recently contacted a friend of his that lived in San Antonio who had invited us to stay at his place and to also visit a few places in Texas. So we made the very long trip from Columbus, Ohio to Texas.
I don’t remember too much about the drive up to Texas until we got to the beautiful scenery; we passed many treks of farm land and hills with the occasional siting of roadkill. My brother and I were sitting in the back, me with my Walkman and head phones listening to a mixed tape I got a week before, and my brother doing the same thing except drawing in his sketch pad that he took everywhere. My parents were in the front, my mom was reading an inspirational pamphlet, and my dad was focusing on the road as a cassette tape of Expose played on the speakers so loud that even with the windows down and music playing in my ears, I could still hear it.
The windows were down because the air conditioner in the car had stopped working about a month prior. My father hadn’t worried about it since the summers in Ohio weren’t particularly bad, and driving up to Texas wasn’t a bad idea with the windows down. It allowed for fresh air to enter the car and blow in our faces. To top that off, it was relatively cool and not a rain cloud in sight. Then we hit Texas.
It was like we suddenly entered into some invisible wall, and everything drastically changed. One moment, we were enjoying the cool air, and the next minute, we were thrown into a blistering furnace. And IT.WAS.HOT. My clothes started sticking to my skin like I had emerged myself into a bath, and sweat dripped down my neck and forehead. I had a bottle of water near me that I hadn’t touched for about a few hours that I instantly started chugging as if my life depended on it. Looking around the car, I could tell my family felt the same way though my brother summed our feelings up quite nicely.
“It feels like we are going through a blow dryer”, I remember him saying. And I would have laughed, if I hadn’t been focusing on my water, but yes, it literally felt like we were going through a blow dryer; to which my father replied, “Well, that’s Texas for you”, an introduction that, to this day, I am sure he was aware of what to expect. Of course, I never brought it up to him.
No sooner had he said those words that we saw it. It was seven feet long and in big white letters on a green background with the Texas flag showing. "Welcome to Texas", it said. They should have added "Prepare for Torturous Heat". But now, almost fourteen years later, I am still here. I’m still not particularly fond of the heat, but I haven’t found another place to call home... and I don't want to.