Miles to Minnesota By: Chloe Lee

Some people may not like road trips- whether it’s because they get car sick, or the car is too cramped, or the car is too hot, but either way, Camryn LOVES road trips. Camryn squealed with excitement, waking up her younger sister, Phoebe, and startling her dad.

When their car stopped at a red light, Camryn was able to fully examine the scenery- the green grass, the dark coniferous trees lined up shoulder to shoulder, and the sky was the same shade of blue as her pale eyes.

“Dad?” Camryn called out, “Is this Minnesota?” Her dad tilted his head back to look at Camryn from the rear view mirror. He smiled and replied,

“Yup, we’re finally here. Have you taken any pictures yet?” Camryn turned on her camera and smiled, proud of the pictures that she had just took a moment ago.

“You bet I have,” Camryn responded. The sunlight landed on the trees flawlessly and the shadows fell on the trustworthy ground, making her picture look professional.

Although moving was exciting for Camryn, she didn't love it either. Leaving her friends was hard, and leaving the only place that had memories of her missing mother was heartbreaking. Suddenly, Camryn remembered a memory she had with her mother- they were sitting on the beach, and a tiny version of Camryn was splashing the water near the shore. Whenever she thought about her mother, that is the first memory that comes to mind.

Although new surroundings do come with a new start, Camryn thought. Camryn had moved on from her mother leaving years ago, when her father had neglected to talk about the issue. No matter how much he wanted to explain, he thought that they were too young and it would be hard to explain in words why their mother ran away and why she didn't keep in touch.

Camryn was so excited that her family was moving to Maple Grove, Minnesota, that she memorized the route to get to their townhouse. So, evidently, Camryn realized something was off when her dad just missed the entryway to Maple Grove.

“Dad?” She asked, “Where are we going? You just missed the road to get into Maple Grove.” Her dad tilted his head up so that he could see me using the rear view mirror.

“I know. I wanna stop somewhere else real quick before we settle in,” he replied. I fell back into car seat and groaned. My dad chuckled at my reaction and added, “Come on, I'll bet you'll be glad that we made this stop.”

After a long, treacherous thirty minutes, they finally arrived at a flower shop. This is it? she thought, Can't be much longer until we're at our new home then. Camryn’s dad looked back at her and said,

“Don’t worry, we’re only halfway there.”

Her dad walked into the shop and came out with 6 flowers- 3 lilacs and 3 daisies. She slouched in her car seat and let her mind travel to another world. Before she knew it, she was at the local cemetery.

At first she thought they got lost, but then she had noticed that instead of fidgeting with his phone, her dad was already outside, enjoying the soft breeze with his hands behind his back. Camryn quickly unbuckled herself and her sister. Carefully holding the plump 5 year old, she went outside to join her dad.

“Because your mother is here.” Camryn’s eyes widened and she took some time to process the five words her father had just said. Suddenly, her mind was flooded with thoughts and questions. When did she die? Why did she just assume that her mom was still alive? Why wasn't she told earlier? Camryn squeezed her eyes shut, attempting to shut out the voices in her head. Instead of blurting out all of her questions she said,

“O-ok.” Her dad smiled and took her free hand.

“Come on, let's go pay her grave a visit,” he calmly responded. Camryn handed over her younger sister to her dad and they started to walk. By the time they reached their mother’s grave, her dad put down Phoebe, since she was now awake, and handed us each two flowers- a lilac and a daisy. Camryn’s knelt down on the ground and Camryn and Phoebe quickly followed. They gently placed the flowers in front of the name plate. Camryn kneeled down in front of the tombstone, took in a deep breath and smiled at the ground.

“You know what, dad?” Camryn said, “I am glad that you brought us here.”

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