Ten minutes into the holiday trip down South and our dog Sheeba vomits in a loud cough between Mum’s legs. The smell in the car is suddenly sharp and my brother Adam bends forward with his hands over his mouth, yelling gross! I laugh, Dad says Shit! and pulls to the side of the road. Mum’s swatting at Sheeba, who is trying to climb out of her mess, clawing at Mum’s bare legs.
We stand on the side of the road in the heat. Mum keeps dabbing her scratches with a tissue dotted dark with her blood. The blood matches her nail polish. Sheeba is tied to the towbar and Dad is trying to clean the floor of the car. All he has is a box of tissues and the chunky vomit keeps breaking the thin paper. Adam sits on the side of the road, head hung, and I fan my face to keep away flies and want to ask Dad to hurry, but I know how mad he gets if we sound at all impatient so I punch Adam in the arm instead.
Ira McGuire lives on the Gold Coast. You can currently blow your nose into her Tiny Owl Napkin Story at several Brisbane coffee venues. Follow her on twitter @ira_mcguire.