And dad won’t leave the mountain
by Kristina England

A day after reaching the inner west of North Carolina, my mother and I leave him in front of the Weather Channel, eyes fixed on coastal hurricane. I put on a black and white checkered hat that sloops in on one side, dare to wear pink shirt, floral skirt, too much pattern, the less adventurous would say.

Mom and I drive to Asheville, forty-five minutes away. We eat lunch at the Jerusalem City Cafe, because it is the closest I’ll get to my heritage, then walk around town, sightseeing. Thomas Wolfe statue, iconic tower, people playing instruments on street corners.

Afterwards, I take a different way home. The roads are mostly sideways as we loop Blue Ridge Mountains.

I stop in Old Fort, because the scenes are fine for photogues. Emergency siren sounds. One of those old cranks, some man using his brute force. Mother and I, shaken, head on out, not knowing how to react. The alarm gets more distant but not our rattled profiles.

Mom calls dad to check in, does not mention our encounter. The hurricane has passed. He is in a more steady mood. Survived a tornado ripping through his house at age four.

We do not ask him to leave the mountain again.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me at the end of our trip back from Asheville, North Carolina, at the Flowering Bridge in Lake Lure.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In life, we metaphorically wear hats that are so big, we don’t always see the reality of a situation. This story is about getting dressed up, seeking out adventure, and the understanding we can find when faced with the same fears of those who don’t join us in the adventure. The hat is new and fun. Ask me in 10 years where the hat is and I probably won’t know, but, god willing, I’ll know, really know, the people I love a little more with each passing day.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kristina England resides in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her writing and photography has been published in several magazines, including Apeiron Review, Gargoyle, Muddy River Poetry Review, and, Pure Slush. Follow her on facebook.