We sat in the dark back seat, watching the digital clock (made of actual light bulbs) atop the bank in Chula Vista. It was a long red light. We’d seen the time change from 7:03 to 7:04 and all four of us started counting the seconds until it changed again.
Quietly, in the back seat: “57, 58, 59” and then, not quietly at all, the four of us shouting “Now!”
At that moment, the left turn light changed to green.
Dad stomped on the gas.
We weren’t in the left turn lane.
Mom grabbed for something above her window, flailed with her left arm against the seat, shouting my dad’s name.
But we’d already started across the intersection in a great big Buick. You don’t turn back from that.
He tried to blame us but mom wouldn’t have it.
We sat silently until we got to the store anyway.
It was a long time before we told anyone that story. Well, a long time before we told it in front of him.