Under my father’s influence, the past Christmas Eve, I had seen a reindeer’s red nose from my bedroom window; with the same power of persuasion, he had convinced me, at least, that our move from Maryland to North Carolina—a place so far off it might as well have been wholly imaginary—was a great adventure.
The trailer park was not a park, as I had imagined, but a series of crude terraces cut into the side of a steep clay hill, with a gravel road up the middle and a security light at the top of a telephone pole.
There were twelve trailers, six on each side, and the way they were placed on the hill, one above the other, meant nearly everyone could look down into someone else’s kitchen, living room, and bedroom. There had been talk of bears, and I hoped to see one in exactly those circumstances: from under the covers, safe inside our trailer.
Beyond the chilled glass to my left, green lights of the dashboard angle up toward the stars. My wife’s parents live five hundred miles away, what we have come to think of as a day’s drive.
I tend to the thermostat, keeping the car warm enough for my sleeping family, but not so warm that my focus turns dull.