The gentle patter of rain in the shower awakens me at an ungodly hour. Mother emerges from the washroom at 9:45. Our scheduled departure is 10:00. Defeat is already inevitable.
I shower and dress and gather my things and before I know it, the time is 10:40. Damn it all. I rush down the stairs and out to the parking lot, where everyone is waiting for me. They have the decency not to call me on my lateness, but we all know the truth. Once on the highway, mother breaks our sacred vow of silence and tells me I was late, and that the others weren’t. I brood for a few minutes, and then drown my sorrows in local radio babble.
Lunch falls at a far more opportune time today for my poor growling stomach, and we break for gas and tasty A&W root beer and burgers. I apologize to my companions for my lateness. The lead car driver agrees that I was late, and points out that I am notorious for being late. I agree with this assessment, apologize again, and all is forgiven.
We’re nearing Nova Scotia now, and our lead car driver professes her desire to sit in the truck with her husband as we cross the border and enter our new homeland. I am agreeable to this, so mother takes over driving the lead car (soon to be the last car, as the truck will now go first in our caravan). The truck driver’s companion abandons her post and joins me in my ancient Mazda. I can only pray that the poor little thing makes it all the way to Halifax with all parts intact.
We speed along the highway, and as the road curves and twists, a new form of entertainment emerges. As the last car in our caravan now, it is mother’s duty to defend us from filthy tailgaters and their evil ways. A challenger approaches: a white car who disapproves of the slow pace we’ve set on this one-lane road. He gets up close to mother. Mother, accepting this unspoken challenge, slows down slightly to warn him off. Irate at her challenge to his vehicular supremacy, the white car draws closer. She of infinite patience slows further. This continues for some time. I am amused.
A two-lane segment of road approaches! My travelling companion and I are thrilled, for this will surely break the stalemate. But such reprieve is not to be, for the white car and mother are now locked in a duel that only death itself can end. The white car refuses to pass in the new lane, hugging mother’s bumper like my roommate’s cats when they cuddle. Mother refuses to move into the new lane to get out of his way, and slows even more. We can barely see her in the mirrors now. Soon she will vanish from the world entirely. We cheer her on.
At some point the white car turns off, and mother emerges victorious. We have little time to celebrate, though — the border to Nova Scotia approaches. It’s magnificent, with huge windmills and gardens and a welcome center and a cheery sign. We are impressed, partially by the beautiful welcoming to our new home, and partially because we actually noticed that we’d entered the province (unlike the New Brunswick/Quebec border, which is just pathetic).
Onwards and upwards into Nova Scotia we fly, and the road signs count down the kilometres to Halifax. Closer and closer, faster and faster … and then … VICTORY! We turn off, we drive, we turn again, and a cozy red brick townhouse looms up on the left: our new home. Our landlord greets us and takes us inside. Plush carpeting, a cute kitchen, an expansive deck, and an unnecessary amount of stairs are ours to explore and claim.
We haul the truck door open and carry in our mattresses. The true unloading will take place tomorrow, but for now a place to sleep is our only thought. We wrestle a king-sized mattress up the twisting staircase, cursing and sweating and bonding over our shared physical exertion and exhaustion.
Once all mattresses are in place, we head down to the waterfront for dinner, drinks, and good company. My uncle joins us, and regales us with stories as we consume assorted seafood. After dinner, we walk along the boardwalk eating icecream and taking in the sights. We stop at the end of a dock and admire the dark, sparkling waters of our new home. And then we return to the townhouse to sleep and recharge and refresh, ready and excited to face the days ahead.
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