It was the first long weekend since classes started. Several of us planned a trip to the coast, in spite of the weather. Rosie’s uncle had a place near Newport where he spent the summer with his family and he’d asked her to check on it during the off-season. Thornton asked if she really had permission to bring a crowd, but she pretended not to hear him. And no one else posed the question again. We all believed we needed a break, deserved a break, from college-life conundrums.
The night before we left, extreme warnings of high winds had been issued by the weather service. Someone made a joke about the Midwest, forgetting, or not forgetting, I had come out here from Ohio. Apparently the Northwest was too sophisticated for a Midwest twister. So cancelling our trip was out of the question. We were barely twenty and completely untouchable.
At least a dozen of us crammed into the floor of the van, holding packs on our laps, piles of snacks and bottles, and blankets wedged around our feet. When we stopped to get gas, I noticed the air had changed. When no one else mentioned it, I was hesitant to say anything. They all knew the smell of rain here, and rarely gave in to the gloom, but I knew the approach of a storm. The pressure landed right next to you and held your face for a moment before letting you turn to find nothing near you at all And there were too many trees to see the sky, to see what might be coming.