2:30 p.m., September 21st, 2015
Summer is over. Fall leaves — the air crisp and hard to breathe. My lungs in overdrive during the circulation process. Everything being uphill doesn’t help either. As I struggle up Mary Jemison Drive, I see the traffic of those who live in the dorms across the street. I wait at the crosswalk with no chance of breaking through the great wall of students. Moss slowly creeps up the walls of Doty Hall; I wonder if it will eventually consume the whole structure. As the hill levels out, my hike becomes more of a stroll. The trees look so eager to change; the weather is confusing them along with our sinuses. Cars fly around the corner, continuing onto Route 39 or merging onto the Drive. I watch the cars carelessly make the turn, swerving in and out of their lane. If only cars had a track to stay on. My stomach begins to ache, imagining the motion-sick travelers. This fork is my last glimpse of home and a slow speed limit I see on our family trips to Pennsylvania.
As my dad merged onto Route 39, he became one of those crazy drivers, a 30+ year habit he would never break. I had suffered from motion sickness since the day I was born. There were so many medicines and remedies for motion sickness that just couldn’t affect me. The stomach contents were always dead set on leaving my body. I was as hopeless as Columbus and his crew, sailing the angry blue.
I’ve always dreaded these trips, longing for the destination. In Geneseo, I knew five hours of horrible driving and throw-up pit stops were ahead of me. His unintentional speeding and swerving was the core of the problem. The man couldn’t drive in a straight line if his life depended on it. Cars were dangerous enough to begin with and he made the odds so much higher. The car would jerk left and right as he bobbed his head to the radio. His obliviousness to his awful driving made me feel bad when everyone scolded him. His smile would fade as my mom became his drivers’ ed. teacher.
His sputtering stops were nauseating as well; his giant feet would slam on the breaks four or five times before the car would come to a complete stop. Between two and three hours the time came to dispose of my irritated stomach contents, only wishing to settle. “Stop” was all I could get out as he’d swerve urgently onto the shoulder, disregarding cars around him. The car vibrated from the wake-up strips lining the expressway; I knew there was no turning back. As I hunched over, letting the vomit escape my weak stomach, I missed that fork in the road. I would hesitate outside the car, spitting out the remnants while I contemplated letting them go on without me. My mom would rub my back until I was done and all I could think was this adventure hasn’t even started. My dad’s persistent apologies made me feel even worse.
After our weekend with loved ones, it was finally time to go home. The slight presence of a stomachache would linger throughout me, but my lack of energy helped me sleep the whole way home. I would notice the speed limit change and wake up as soon as we hit Geneseo. Once we met that fork in the road, my stomach would completely settle — no signs of past distress. This point was the invisible trigger to my motion sickness, five hours from Grandma’s house and twenty minutes from home.
Bianca Nolt is a junior at SUNY Geneseo. A Communications major with a love for creative writing, reading, and donating blood, she wants to be a News Producer after graduating from SUNY Geneseo with her Bachelor’s in Journalism and Media.