The bus door opened with a pneumatic whoosh,
alongside the Mega-Pumper gas station, and expelled my twelve-year-old stepdaughter Marlie and me on the exhale. Marlie juggled her backpack and fashionably tiny purse while I schlepped a weekender and my tote bag.
We were the last two passengers, arriving in a place where neither of us wanted to be—my hometown of Bent Tree Creek, California—and as we stood there on the asphalt, our ears stinging from a snow-laced breeze and our most recent scathing argument, my heart attempted a swan dive and belly flopped instead.
“It so seriously sucks that...