“Mom can I ride back with Uncle Wayne?”

My mom, flustered and forcing a cooler into the back of the Subaru, “Wayne is that okay”? She shouted back looking over the sunglasses sliding off her nose.

“Yeah that’s fine.” My uncle lifted me up into his truck and buckled me in, “You excited to go over the bridge.”

“No, not really. What if there’s an earthquake and we’re on the bridge?

As he shut my door, he walked around the front of the truck before he answered. As he climbed into the driver’s side, he could see me waiting for a response.

“Well we’ll be over water and water is the safest place to be in an earthquake.”

Looking at my uncle suspiciously, “wouldn’t that be a Tsunami?”

Through his thick southern drawl my uncle shook his head and laughed,

“You’re too smart for me! You need to relax. When will you ever see the Golden Gate Bridge again? It’s all I’ve heard from you this whole trip, earthquake this, earthquake that…little girl, you need to get it out of your mind, or you’ll miss out.”

He was right, the entire time we were there helping him move, it’s all I talked about, but in my defense, we just learned about earthquakes and the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 was the one I chose for my book report.

He looked over at me and patted the seat next to him.

“Come sit in the middle here if you want”.

I unlatched and scooted next to him and let my feet dangle above the floorboards. As we crossed onto the bridge, I felt the expanse of the ocean to my side. He taped my knee and said,

“Look up”

My eyes were drawn towards the oncoming red arch. As we got closer the sides got taller and taller, then it was over.

“There’s one more, just wait.” As we reached the second one, he pushed his elbow to my arm, “See, not so bad. Wait for the tunnel. There’s a troll in there and he looks just like your dad.”

Eight year old me thought it was the funniest thing I’d ever heard and when I looked up at him, with the wind in my hair and the sun in my eyes, I could see that he was smiling back at me.

I leaned against him and said, “I love you.”

He put his arm around me and gave me a little squeeze,

“I love you more.”

No Ordinary Man


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