the twinkling houses became fewer and in the envelope of darkness she realized a second too late that she had missed her turn. she would have to go to the next road - whatever it might be.
she felt silly for missing her turn, after all the party was at was her sister-in-laws house and she'd been here so many times before. she couldn't picture the next road and started to hope it wasn't the on ramp to the highway. she certainly didn't want to deal with on ramps because who knew just how far she would have to travel before she could exit, and then she would still need to turn around and get back on the highway.
'god', she muttered to herself; 'nothing every goes as planned. and i wonder why i hate the holidays?'
then, up ahead on her right she noticed a house and a better thought crossed her mind; she could just turn around in its driveway. she'd not have to deal with highway ramps at all. she'd not be late. and, if she didn't mention it, no one would be the wiser. she'd not have to catch the ribbing for missing a turn she'd taken so many times before. therein came comfort and resolution.
she checked traffic. just one car behind her - slushy december nights in the middle of nowhere tend to be like that - so she put on her right turn signal and pulled to the side of the road to turn into the drive. the car behind her did the same. 'my dumb luck' she mused; 'what are the chances that this would be that cars drive?' remaining on the side of the road she pulled ahead of the drive enough to let it turn in.
as she stopped she noticed a road sign ahead that said 130th Avenue. she had choices now. she could back up into the same drive and turn around. she could make a U-turn. or, she could travel to 130th Avenue and turn around there. factoring into her decision were three things; the roadside was slushy and wet; it was ditched quite deeply; she had a tiny red front wheel drive car that could turn on a dime. any option was viable, unless she were to slide -or get stuck- in the slush. what to do.
what to do...
and then there was a clap of thunder accompanied by a flash of light and it started to rain. 'what the hell?' she moaned; 'add a winter storm to the mix, why not?' and reaching to turn on the wipers she realized she also had something in her eye; 'god, have i not had enough already today?' she tried to wipe that something away, but the more she tried the more she felt it and the more it burned. 'forget it, you will be at your brothers house in a matter of minutes and you can deal with it there.'
when she stepped through the door of her brothers house, her sister-in-law was at the sink with the window cracked open smoking a cigarette. one of her nieces busied herself sorting cookies with two other guests - one of whom was wearing a christmasy sweater - into white boxes the other niece was bringing out of the pantry. 'mom do you want these ones in here too?' she asked holding up a bag of cookies.
damn. she was sure the card said 7:30 but maybe it had said 7? in any case it didn't matter.
it was obvious that she was late...