The Appalachian Forest

Damn. You couldn’t get out of visiting your grandparent’s house. You’re not a fan, to say the least, of visiting the old cottage filled with just-as-old people. Ok, that’s mean. Deep down, you love your grandma and grandpa, but seeing them is never like in the movies. Grandma doesn’t bake cookies all day and slip you 20 dollar bills while your parents aren’t looking. Grandpa doesn’t sit in a recliner, playing a game of am I asleep or dead?! No, it’s never like that.

The old cottage is far off from any neighbors, deep in the jungle-like Appalachian rainforest. The northbound highway cuts into a smaller state road, single lane, that leads into the heart of the forest. It’s a sudden shift, entering into the forest. Clear, open air is replaced with a constant layer of gray mist, hanging heavy, not unlike bathroom air after a steamy shower. A single lane invites you in, coaxingly, comfortingly. A single road leads out.

You sit in the backseat of your parent’s RAV 4, headphones in, doing your best to ignore the unfortunate circumstance you found yourself in. To your left, behind the driver’s seat, sits Emma, your little sister. Ha! She couldn’t get out of it either. Being the favorite doesn’t come with unlimited power, although at times it seems that way.

She’s tuned into an intense episode of New Girl on her iPad, eyes glued on the screen, child-like demeanor becoming more “teen” by the day, another word for rebellious. Your parents “love you both equally,” yet somehow that statement doesn’t seem to be true. Give it a couple of years, and see how much they favor their baby girl when she's a full-blown teen. You imagine you’ll come across as goddamn presidential when that happens. You know, like the stories of past US presidents as kids; they’re always so well-behaved, so perfect, little rule-followers unmarked by scandalous behavior.