The drive up to Yosemite was long. My father played Bach the whole first half. We went through Milpitas, Pleasanton, Dublin, Manteca, Escalon, and Oakdale. We had been to Yosemite before with my mom, but that was when it was snowing. There wasn’t going to be snow this time and it was just me and my dad and my brother.
At the turnoff for the Old Yosemite Road, the sun turned tangerine and my dad took out the Bach and put in a tape of his meditation lady. My little brother and I chanted with her using funny voices, but that only lasted for a few minutes, then we were quiet again. My dad drove and hummed quietly to himself. My brother and I would trade the front seat at every rest stop. I was two years older, but I got carsick more easily, so I got the front longer. I had been in the front since East Oakdale. The Old Yosemite road was crooked and my dad drove slower. Soon the sky went gray, with purple above the mountains. My brother was asleep in the back, in slanted over with his face in all the puffy jackets.
I did and cupped my hand over the grate until it was too hot and I pulled it away. I wasn’t tired even though it was dark outside and we’d been driving for hours. I leaned forward but my seatbelt held me, so I undid it and leaned again and picked up my father’s old thick bible with pages falling out and a rubber band around it.
“Put your belt back on,” he said.
“I know,” I said. I clicked it in place. “I was just picking this up.”
“I know,” I said. “Why are the lines colored?” There was yellow, and pink, and green highlighter, all faded, all over the pages.
“Those are passages I like.”
I asked him why.
“Because they help me.” I read a little. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. It meant nothing. I closed it.
“You go to church?”
“No,” he said. The lady and the people on the meditation tape chanted softly.
“Why do you have the bible?”
“I just open it when I get in the car. Whatever page it opens to, I read.”
“I told you, it helps me.”
I put the rubber band back around the leather cover and held the thick thing in my lap. We went through a town with only a few lights and my dad slowed. The headlights bounced off some signs into my eyes. Yosemite 30 miles. Then we were on the windy part going up the mountain. The tape came to the end and my dad ejected it and left it sticking out of the player. It was white. The bible tried to slip down my leg and I held onto it.
“Adam and Eve,” I said.
“Yup,” my dad said.
“Moses, Abraham. Jesus, David. The flood, killing the ram, the plagues, first there was light, then darkness, then water, then land, then the garden of Eden.”
“Where did you learn all that?”
“At Sunday school, where Mom takes us.”
“Yeah.” We got quiet as we wound up the mountain. The car went so close to the sides and there wasn’t always a barrier. Last time we did this part of the drive in the dark too and I hated it. I secretly held onto the side of the door with my right hand. There were pennies in the handle and I pushed them back and forth in the holder with my index finger. Dad’s AA medallion was in there, too.