TO GRANDMOTHER’S HOUSE WE GO
“Are we there yet?” Esther moaned from the back seat. Her disabled brother, Ezra, was asleep in his chair and her older siblings, Edith and Elias, were both playing their Gameboys and wanted nothing to do with her.
“It’s only been an hour, sweetpea. We’re only half way to Grandma and Grandpa’s,” replied her mother, Penny. “You can read your book for a bit or colour…”
Esther sighed deeply, “I’m bored! Why do we have to go all the way to Grandma and Grandpa’s anyways?” She looked out the window into the miles and miles of Thanksgiving weekend traffic.
“It won’t be much longer, pumpkin,” her father, Jack, reasoned. “Either way, I need to stop for gas. You can come and stretch your legs if you’d like.”
Esther perked up for a moment as Jack pulled off the highway. Her dad usually got her a treat from the convenience store as well.
Penny sighed. “I’m gonna go for a pee. Anyone else?” Elias and Edith got up from their seats and headed off to the bathrooms.
Esther got out of the car but stayed with her dad. When her mother and siblings were out of sight, she quickly asked, “Daddy, can I have a treat from the store?”
“Of course, pumpkin. But you have to share with your siblings if they find out,” Jack smiled and gave his youngest daughter a five dollar bill that Esther promptly spent on a can of pink cream soda.
“Thanks Daddy,” Esther said, slipping the change back into his pocket.
“Do you need to use the bathroom before we take off? There might not be another chance before we get to Grandma and Grandpa’s…” Jack warned. He knew how Esther could be in these situations, especially given the can of soda she was going to likely drink in the next few minutes.
“Nope, I’m fine,” Esther replied, certain of her predicament.
“Are you sure, Ess? You don’t want to just try?”
Esther rolled her eyes, “Dad!”
Jack sighed. He went inside to pay for the gas and the family headed back to the highway.
Esther downed the cream soda before her siblings even put on their seatbelts. She was crafty at hiding snacks and not having to share. It was a trick she had learned in being a younger sibling and it had served her well in her short life.
Only minutes had gone by before boredom set in and the grey highway mixed with the grey sky made Esther feel as though she were trapped in an infinite bubble of boredom. She tried to colour, but it didn’t hold her attention for more than a few minutes. Reading wasn’t a great idea either, as it made her nauseous. She looked at Ezra, who was still asleep and drooling a bit. She wished she could fall asleep, but the sugar rush from the soda she had just downed was going to prevent that for a while.
“Are we there yet?” Esther moaned.
“We still have nearly an hour left, sweetpea,” Penny reminded her daughter, “Did you want to do a puzzle?”
Esther sighed, “Okay.” She sifted through the activity books that were kept in the netted back pocket of the middle seat. Jack and Penny tried their best to have things for their children to do during car trips. Esther had proven to be the least occupiable of their four (soon to be six) children.
Esther hastily completed the mazes and word searches of her activity book as if quickly finishing them would make them arrive at their destination earlier than anticipated. As Esther worked away, the traffic on the highway slowly impeded their progression. Her attempts to speed up the uneventful journey were fruitless. She put down the colouring book and looked outside again, sighing.
“This is worse than usual,” Penny said to Jack.
“It hasn’t snowed yet this year. Probably all those Black Friday campers waiting for a deal tomorrow morning,” Jack replied.
“How much longer?” Esther moaned.
“Looks like there’s a bit of a traffic jam, sweetpea. Not much longer, though, just two more exit signs and we’ll be there,” Penny replied, trying not to sound annoyed by her daughter’s pestering.
Esther went back to her activity book and started a colour by number page. She was starting to feel uncomfortable. She looked down at the empty soda can she had left in the cup holder and felt instant regret. Esther shifted in her seat. She didn’t have to go that badly. She focused her attention back to the maze. Just two more exits. Just two more! Esther felt the family van creep along the highway slowly, as if it was taunting her. Shouldn’t have gotten that soda! Should’ve gone pee at the gas station! Esther swallowed hard and shifted to the front of the seat. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. She could hold it for just two more exits.
The minutes ticked by, feeling like hours as the pressure was building in Esther’s small bladder. She was getting really desperate now, jiggling her legs frantically. Cold sweat had formed on her back. The van had barely moved and she felt like she could lose control at any minute.
Elias turned around and angrily glared at Esther. “Stop kicking the seat! God you’re so annoying!”
Esther stopped jiggling her legs and crossed them, tightly squeezing herself. It wasn’t a great solution, but it was better than the alternative.
Penny turned around, “Elias, don’t treat your sister like that. You can politely ask her to stop.”
Elias sighed and begrudgingly apologized to his desperate little sister.
“Mommy… how much longer?” Esther squeaked.
“Not too much longer. The traffic is letting up just ahead. Are you alright, sweetpea?”
Esther shook her head. “I… I have to go pee…”
“It won’t be too much longer, sweetpea. Can you hold it for just a few more minutes?”
“I don’t know,” Esther admitted. She was at the brink of peeing her pants. The soda had gone right through her and one wrong move could end in wet pants. Esther adjusted her position again, digging her heel into her crotch. This was one of the last tricks she could think of to keep from having an accident. She leaned back in her seat and tried to stay still. The second to last exit sign slowly faded away.
“Just a little longer, pumpkin. Just hold on,” Jack tried to reassure his daughter.
Esther didn’t respond. She had to adjust her position again, leaning forward with thighs pressed together. She hiked up her skirt and pulled her tights and underwear tight to her body, trying to plug herself. Nothing was working, though. A few drops of urine escaped and soaked her underwear. Esther gasped. “Daddy! I have to go pee right now!”
“We’re almost there, Ess, I need you to hang on for just a little longer.”
“Daddy it’s an emergency!” Esther shouted.
“Esther, we’re in the middle of the highway. There is nowhere for you to go pee. Please try and hold it until we get off the highway.”
Esther felt hot tears pour down her cheeks, but she refused to let out a whimper. She tried to hold it, but spurts of urine began to escape from her bursting urethra. She couldn’t hold it anymore and her pee started to seep down her legs, soaking into the carpeted chairs of their family van, forming a pool under her and wetting her skirt.
When Jack finally pulled off the highway, he made a quick pit stop at the nearest gas station. “Okay, Esther. You can use the bathroom now.”
Esther stood up from her seat, her skirt completely soaked through. She began to cry. “I told you it was an emergency!” she wailed.