My father drove while my mother sat in the passenger seat.
I was seated beside my brother, our dog nestled between us, on our way to a popular amusement park.
It was a hot summer’s day. The heat radiating off the pavement looked like oil slicks on the asphalt. It was somewhat of a long trip, the kind that requires a tune-up before heading out. The first hour was fine, although the scenery got to be a bit repetitive. It was a nice drive regardless, if anything just a bit too warm. Not many hotels were very pet-friendly back in the day so we opted for some inexpensive lodging. The room was quaint, dated, and a bit musty—exactly what I expected. It’s not unusual for hotel air conditioners to be turned off when a room is not in use, so the stuffiness didn’t worry me much. The A/C was an older model nestled snugly in the wall beside the front door. It looked like it hadn’t been moved in a very long time. The nobs were circled with a gradient of red and blue that stood out nicely against the faded wood veneer of the exterior. The machine whirred to life with a little whine. Hot air leaked from the vents like smoke while the motor caught speed. The hot air continued to blow. We didn’t know if the unit was stuck on a heater mode or if it was low on refrigerant. Perhaps a mixture of both or perhaps something else. Regardless, coming back to our room after a long day at an amusement park wasn’t very amusing.