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A River Runs Through Her
A River Runs Through Her
By Wes J. Pimentel
As I typed today’s date at the top of this, I noticed it’s April Fool’s Day. Fitting. I had a simple mission a couple of hours ago. All I had to do was get dropped off at the airport by my wife so I could go spend a glorious week in Fayetteville, NC with my brother, Lucien. Well, I’m on the plane, but not unscathed.
We were off to such a good start. I started packing ridiculously early to avoid the last minute mistakes we all seem to make when we’re pressed for time. I laid out my travel outfit; I made a meticulous packing list, detailing all the must-haves; I even remembered all the things that one would consider nice to have, but not indispensable. I even mowed the lawn and did all the laundry, just so my wife wouldn’t have to do it. I was set, man!
We departed our home right on time, like clockwork. The ride to the airport was uneventful. My wife and I held hands, my daughter fussed a little bit, until she got her cheese puffs, and all was right with the world. I even took a moment to take some pictures of my adorable daughter, so the images could keep me company on the long flight. I guess that was my first mistake; actually believing that everything was OK. I should have known. I should have seen it coming. When my wife and I didn’t get in to an argument, my daughter didn’t scream bloody murder and the car didn’t break down, I should have realized that I was being lulled into complacency.
We made it right into the airport without a single problem. It was just inside the airport that all hell broke loose. You see, my daughter hasn’t been feeling too well, lately. She has had what the doctors assume is a “stomach bug.” I guess that’s technical medical jargon for a viral infection in her intestine. At any rate, her body has felt the need to intermittently expulse things like milk and food lately. It hasn’t been a huge problem. She has never been a big puker, so it’s kind of different and slightly challenging to deal with. I had to individually wash foam floor tiles the other day, but other than that it hasn’t been awful.
For some reason, I don’t know if it was God or karma or what, my daughter’s virus-infested intestines decided they weren’t feeling quite that welcoming toward those goddamned cheese puffs any longer. As we neared the departure terminal, my wife and I heard something that sounded like a faulty pump rupturing in the back seat. I turned just in time to treat myself to a bit of the horror that the priest in The Exorcist must have felt. My daughter had gone from a beautiful little angel to some sort of grotesque device whose job seemed to be to fill car seats with a putrid mix of curdled milk, crushed cheese puffs, and who knows what else.
It was a truly amazing sight. In 32 years on this planet I have never seen anyone throw up that much. I have been to countless keg parties. I have attended events whose favors have included shrooms, acid, meth, coke, ecstasy, and just about everything else. I’ve seen a LOT of people puke. I repeat, I have never seen anyone puke this much. It was incredible. It looked like puke you would see on Saturday Night Live, where the actor holds a hose up to the side of their mouth and gallons of liquid just shoot out of their face. My poor little girl’s face had been reduced to a hose nozzle.
I was supposed to just be let out at the curb. That’s how the Pimentel clan rolls. We just drop and bounce. Well, that’s a little hard when a 20-pound creature is emptying the contents of her intestines into the seat behind you. She threw up for about the last 45 seconds of the trip, and it ended right when we pulled up to the curb. Quick quiz: What would you do? My wife and I jumped out of the car. I had to catch a flight, so it was decided that she would clean up the baby, and I would run away. My exodus was cut short when I saw her reaction to the smell. You see, my wife is 7 months pregnant and very susceptible to throwing up, herself. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t just run away and leave her throwing up, while at the same time trying to clean up my daughter’s puke – and along the dreaded white curb, of all places!
I had an hour and a half before my flight and I had to think fast. I gallantly offered to clean up the baby in the terminal bathroom while she did her best to wipe down the car seat. I reached for the place on my daughter’s body where I would normally find her seatbelt buckle. It had unfortunately been replaced by a small river of vomit. As my hands came closer to the once familiar spot, I too almost threw up. The combination of sight and smell gripped me with the force of a shark’s jaw, and for a second, I was almost a goner. My wife handed me some wet-wipes and I made a half-hearted attempt to wipe the buckle clean before I grabbed the regurgitation-soaked thing. I shivered like a little girl at the thought of holding her against myself, drenched in stomach contents, right before an eight and a half hour flight. Seeing this my wife grabbed a small blanket out of her diaper bag and recommended I use it as a sort of barrier between me and the barf-battered beauty. I tied it around my neck, like a fat man would with one of those lobster bibs at a seafood restaurant. I shouldered the diaper bag, grabbed Fauna out of the car seat, turned her away from me and ran into the terminal.
What a sight I must have been; running through the terminal, holding up a baby covered and dripping with vomit, face-out, at arm’s length. I am not familiar with this airport, so I ran toward the first uniformed person I saw to ask where the bathroom was. Before I could even ask, he pointed and I darted in the prescribed direction.
Just as I got done cleaning and changing her, my wife called to let me know the white-curb Nazis were accosting her about her excessive time at their beloved curb. I was again running through the terminal, albeit this time with a much cleaner baby.
It just goes to show you; nothing is simple in this world. Sometimes you think you’re a minute away from a well-deserved vacation with your brother, when chance strikes and you end up frantically running around an airport, drenched in gut garbage and raising the suspicions of National Security agents.