• Bobbi Duncan-Ishcomer

this car is your car, this car is my car

Without fail, our summer trips to New England seem to happen during Mercury retrograde. Last year, whether thanks to Mercury's propensity for travel disaster or, more likely, due to poor planning on my part, our transportation shenanigans led to a full Autistic meltdown at South Station.

It wasn't a scenario I wanted to repeat. So we tried something new this year, and after the standard "Welcome to Boston" feast at Faneuil Hall, we left our bags in Chelsea and hopped on a train from Boston to Ispwich to pick up a Volkswagen Rabbit from a guy we met on the internet named John.

Turo, where a stranger rents you their car and you promise not to run away to Canada with it. Like AirBnB, if you were taking the house with you.

Having successfully acquired wheels, we drove back to Chelsea to pick up our bags and started making our way through rush hour traffic to head to our first destination: Rhode Island.

The first time we visited Chris and Kerry at The Cottage, in 2015, we had to stop to wait for literal chickens to cross the road. I thought it was pretty funny at the time, but I think those chickens were trying to tell us something about the absurd, wonderful whimsy of small town Rhode Island.

Four years later, we've grown accustomed to Wilbur's, where you can buy t-shirts, penny candy, romance novels, flatware, yo-yos, and a chicken (possibly one that has crossed the road too many times) for dinner. We have come to appreciate restaurants where you have to pay in cash, but can leave to walk a few blocks to the bank if the attached ATM happens to be out of money, electricity, or both. We are amused by a post office that won't deliver your mail because they don't know if their trucks can get down the road to the house. It's a charming town plucked from a sitcom, chickens in the road and all, and we love it, even if it's not sure yet whether or not it loves us. You never can tell with New England.

We also love Chris—master of games, taker of photos, engineer of robots, and artist of paella— and Kerry—who has agreed to be described here as an awesomely nerdy next-level introvert with a sense of humor that would make Tina Fey sound like an actuary and their two kids, who let us crash their vacations and make us feel like we've come home in their home.

This year, there were no chickens in the road—we look for them at the corner where they live every year—but we did find ourselves chasing fire as the sun set on our way to the cottage. Rhode Island is fickle with its sunsets. You never know what you're going to get. Mornings that start off bright and sunny get swallowed by ocean fog in the afternoon. Sometimes, when the timing is just right, the rain leaves, but the clouds stay, and sky lights up. In four years, I've seen this twice, though I'm told it's not as uncommon as all that. See: I'm not sure whether or not Rhode Island loves me.

But this day was one of those days, and we arrived in time for me to spill out onto the grass, leaving LeAnn to haul in bags, while I tried to capture a little of the magic. I'm not sure it's actually possible to quantify what happens when a sunset gets made by salt-air clouds, but possibly, it's a thing you don't have to understand. Just like coming home, it's a thing you have to experience. All I can tell you for sure is that it fills you up.

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