I hot, steamy afternoon to the smell of gasoline

          I remember that hot, humid night as if it
was yesterday. I was riding in the car with my father. The adrenaline was
pumping through my veins at the speed of Dale JR. on his last lap. I have never
been more scared and panicked in my life. Daddy did not notice the change in speed
limit coming off the highway. My heart dropped to the pit of my stomach, like a
rock fallen in a deep well, as I spotted those familiar red and blue lights
coming over the hill behind us. The siren sounded and the lights lit up the
dark night like the 4th of July. At that moment, I knew I never
wanted to get back in the car with my daddy when he had been drinking beer.

Earlier
that day, daddy and I had been watching TV and resting before we would go to
the dirt track races later on that afternoon. The phone had rang and by the
secretiveness, sneaky way he was acting, a bad feeling crept up in my stomach.
I had the strangest feeling that something bad was going to happen. Despite my
strange feeling, I went on with my day, and I went to get ready for a fun
filled night at Thunderbird Speedway. I had always asked my daddy not to drink
beer when I had come to his house on the weekends. He would always promise he would
not drink.

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We
arrived at Thunderbird Speedway on that hot, steamy afternoon to the smell of
gasoline drifting through the thick, stale air. The motors of the cars sounded
like a fleet of jets flying across the sky. It seemed like there were hundreds
of people there to cheer on their favorite drivers. We would sit up in the
grand stands that seemed like we were on top of Mount Everest. The taste of the
sweet, sticky cotton candy was my favorite thing to eat. I would be excited,
like a child opening presents on Christmas Day, that my aunts would be sitting
in the stands waiting for me to arrive. My daddy would leave me with my aunts
while he went into the pit area where the parked racecars would be. As he would
walk away, I would get an uneasy feeling, remembering how he acted on the phone
earlier that day. After watching several races, the feeling subsided. As the
hours would pass, the races would end. My aunts would take me into the pit area
where my daddy would be waiting. The family would stand around and visit before
leaving to go home. I had told my daddy I was tired and sleepy. When I made
contact with his sleepy, blue eyes and heard his slow, slurred speech, I knew then
he had been drinking beer. At that moment, my heart started beating as fast as
a speeding bullet. He put me in the car and told me in a firm, harsh voice, “lie
down and go to sleep!”

x

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