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Kingston, Washington

By Nicholas Dighiera

I look down and see the van is overheating.

We are in the foothills outside Olympic National Park and the temperature is 278 degrees Fahrenheit. Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Engines can go as high as 230 degrees Fahrenheit and still survive.

Right now we are flirting with irreparable damage. I try to slow down, take it easy on hills. Cars speed by us on the left, sometimes blaring their horn. A few RVs too—one is towing a small sedan.

     Failure feels near. I haven’t spent this much time around my sons since the divorce two years ago, and both friends and family expect that I’ll fail. Their mom expects it too. But something deeper is going on here between the boys and me. Something I don’t even understand. But I can barely keep my eyes off of the gauge as it’s threatening to rip our trip apart and take that depth away from me.

     It’s less than an hour before I cut our trip short.

     I reroute us to Kingston, Washington to catch a ferry to Seattle, nursing the van along at lower speeds to keep the temperature down. I swing into the last gas station before the ferry terminal. There isn’t a cloud around, and even though the sun is way up it’s cool in the shade of the structure over the gas pumps. Dominic and Finn are in the back seat and the van slider door is open.

     Dominic says, “Dad, we could probably do a snack plate with some Pringles."



About the Author

Nicholas Dighiera is an organic meat machine consistently in existential crisis. He can fix almost anything and his favorite piece of playground equipment is the swing. Currently, he resides in Seattle and would be humbled that you read his work, some of which can be found in Catamaran Literary Magazine, Fugue, and River Teeth or at