On the Road Again

My husband and I are driving a Penske truck filled with furniture from our last apartment In the Bronx, NY to Texas. We’ve made this trip before.

Last time, we drove the opposite way with the same furniture from my parents’ home just after we were married 8 years ago, just after my Dad died, a year after my brother died and two years after my mother did.

I was so grateful for that furniture at the time. Newly married, making a home with someone for the first time, I was thrilled to have really nice things to bring to our shared space, a new apartment we’d chosen together.

Having lived in a tiny studio apartment in the West Village of NYC for 18 years prior to this big change, I had no furniture to speak of. My husband had some nice things to bring from his place, but not enough. We were stretching our budgets to get our apartment. New furniture was not in the plan. So my parents was a blessing.

It was amazing how perfectly the furniture all worked together. We chose rich colors for the walls off of the colors in the rugs, and somehow, it all had an eclectic warmth that just felt right. So “us,” somehow. The us we were becoming.

For the first years of our marriage, in those years after those huge losses in which I grieved and lived as best I could, that furniture surrounded me and held me and filled the empty gaping hole their deaths left.

I cherished it all. I had my father’s bronzed baby cowboy boots as book ends. A china cabinet held bluebirds, brown ware and silver pieces from my mother’s collections. We ate off of plates and used pans brought up from their kitchen. Put drinks on coasters from their den.

Our bedroom furniture was from my parents first house. The first expensive rug they bought, a now-worn but still lovely Oriental, sat under their gorgeous dark wood dining table and chairs.

But somewhere along year 6, something began to shift in me, and now, 18 months later, after a Konmari wave that washed away my clutter, a new apartment search, offer, and purchase, a renovation, putting an apartment on the market, a sale, a closing, a move, and a settling in, here I am. Day two of a three day journey to take much of that furniture to a new home.

My cousin, who my parents loved, who has a lovely wife and two young kids and a house, is happily taking the furniture off my hands. Whatever he did not take, others in NY needed and wanted.

Tomorrow we reach Austin, where the pieces will be put in their new home.

And I will let go. Of the grieving time. Of the me that has lived these 8 years in the after-shock, doing my best.

I feel such a mix of sadness and relief and excitement. Sadness because I still wish they were here instead of their things. Relief because something is done that I seem to have needed to do. Some job I unconsciously took on will soon be complete. And excitement is for this next part, whatever it will be.

Today I crave space. I want to be surrounded by things that resonate the me I am today. Our new home in no way resembles our last. And I love it with its new colors and furniture, and kickass river views.

I kept one chair out of it all. And reupholstered it. It looks wonderful there, surrounded by our new pieces, our new rugs.

At the end of the first day’s drive, we were treated to a blazing orange sky. Since my mother passed, I am convinced that beautiful sunsets are her way of letting me know she is there, loving me. It was clear that she, my Dad and brother, approve of this trip.

My parents and brother are still with me. But now they fill my heart space. I carry them wherever I go.

https://guestdailyposts.wordpress.com/guest-pingbacks/

The In-between Space

If I squint, I can still see it in my mind’s eye

The back of the front seat

of my parents’ doo doo brown

Buick Estate Wagon: my permanent view

Sandwiched between the adolescent sweaty arms

of my older brothers, their elbows poking my small shoulders

Fighting the space wars that only siblings know about

Gum popping, punches passed across me

Pre-digital age entertainment

Counting cars, Mad Libs, I Spy, rounds of car songs

I could barely see out the windows

But my whole world was inside anyways

I was in heaven between those two

Even their ignoring me was attention I loved

What I wouldn’t give to be back there

Lulled into a happy daze

The faint smell of my dad’s pipe

The tinkle of my mom’s laugh

And those two on either side

Holding me in tight, safe and sound

On the road, together

 

I share my posts on Alan’s site:

https://guestdailyposts.wordpress.com/guest-pingbacks/

 

 

 

Highway Robbery

Life is a one-way road

Cannot go back, only forwards

So why do I feel stuck in time

At times moving backwards

Or worse yet, stalled

on the side of the road?

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: One-Way

One of my favorite songs from the early 90’s was Tom Cochrane’s “Life is a Highway.” I love the lyric and the music. It always made me feel so full of hope and youthful joy, and still stirs that up in me upon listening today. So when I am feeling a bit stalled, I put it on to wake my hope up!

Life’s like a road that you travel on
When there’s one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind

There’s a world outside every darkened door
Where blues won’t haunt you anymore
Where the brave are free and lovers soar
Come ride with me to the distant shore

We won’t hesitate to break down the garden gate
There’s not much time left today

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
Well, I want to drive it all night long

Through all these cities and all these towns
It’s in my blood and it’s all around
I love you now like I loved you then
This is the road and these are the hands

From Mozambique to those Memphis nights
The Khyber Pass to Vancouver’s lights
Knock me down and back up again
You’re in my blood, I’m not a lonely man

There’s no load I can’t hold
A road so rough, this I know
I’ll be there when the light comes in
Tell ’em we’re survivors

Life is a highway
Well, I want to ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I want to drive it all night long
Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, yeah

Life is a highway
Well, I want to ride it all night long, yeah
If you’re going my way
I want to drive it all night long

There was a distance
Between you and I
A misunderstanding once
But now we look it in the eye, ooh yeah

There ain’t no load that I can’t hold
A road so rough this I know
I’ll be there when the light comes in
Tell ’em we’re survivors

Life is a highway
Well, I want to ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
Well, I want to drive it all night long
Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, yeah

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I want to drive it all night long
Come on, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, yeah

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
(Yeah, I want to drive it all night long)
If you’re going my way
I want to drive it all night long
All night long

– Thomas William Cochrane

Ride of a Lifetime

One minute we were laughing. Young, hungover, late to the Superbowl party, totally free. Driving down a country road on New Year’s Day, we were heading towards our lives.

Must have hit a patch of black ice. Time stretched itself out like a taffy-pull. The car air filled with heartbeats and breath.

None us made a sound. Even the car, as it spun 360 degrees, was silent, seeming almost to hover above the ground.

I was in the back seat, on the hump between the seats. It felt like I was on the Teacups ride, facing the slow-whirling, hard-packed, icy snowland and barbed-wire fence as we spun. Katie’s red hair seemed to defy gravity, and you seemed set in plaster, both hands on the wheel.

It was surreal, those decades we turned together. Something transpired between us, unspoken, that would forever connect us.

When the car stopped, no one moved. The stillness seemed even more surreal than the spinning world, then, and I wasn’t sure if we’d died and this was heaven, or if somehow, miraculously, we had escaped what would surely have been a horrific and fatal crash.

More eons passed, until finally, as if on cue, we started laughing. Unbelievably, the car was even facing the right direction. We had literally completed a full two circles, and had stayed on the road.

We were whole. We were spared by the Angels.

We went on to the party, but didn’t tell anyone what had happened. Didn’t make into yet another college drinking story.

In fact, we never spoke of it again.

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: surreal

Date with Destiny

I knew.

Before it happened, I could feel it.

It almost didn’t happen.

If I hadn’t been on just that road at just that time.

His car passing my overheated one as I sat in it, seemed so…miraculous.

I’d not seen another car for at least an hour.

After realizing I ‘d no cell service, I’d kind of lost it. Then I calmed myself down, surrendering to the dawning reality that I was not going to make it to my friend’s wedding on time.

The fact that he stopped seemed so…amazing.

And he seemed so…genuine. (And kind of cute.)

Hope leapt into my chest like a butterfly. I could still make it!

I grabbed my bag and climbed into the passenger seat of his rather nondescript, conservative car. I took a deep breath in and thanked him again, settling in for the ride.

That’s when I felt it, as I looked down and checked that my cell was in its side pocket in my purse. The visceral dread in my gut.

I don’t know what changed, why suddenly everything that seemed so right suddenly felt so wrong.

But as I heard the car door locks click to “locked,” I knew I’d made a mistake.

And just as I looked up and felt the blade of a knife plunge into my waist, into the place where I feel most vulnerable, where it is a scary mix of ticklish fear to be touched, I saw that he knew that I knew I’d made a terrible mistake.

And as I left my body and watched what he did to my body from above, it all seemed so very, very…clear, and so very, very…inevitable.

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: visceral

Carry On

Things That Are Traditional in My Family That I Inherited (Whether I Like It Or Not:)

Grandmother’s Thanksgiving Stuffing

Disbelief in Good Things Lasting

Aunt’s Pumpkin Bread Served at All Gatherings

Serving Dishes and Calling Them “Salads” Even Though They Contain No Vegetables Unless You Consider Miniature Marshmallows and Jello Vegetables

Dad and Uncle’s Christmas Chili

Finding the Least Trafficked Back-Routes When Driving Places Even If It Takes Much Longer Just Because “It’s The Back-Way”

Spode Christmas Tree China On the Table at Major Holidays Whether It Is Christmas Or Not

Distrust of Strangers & Non-Family People, Too

Gradma’s Green Bean Recipe

Waiting for The Proverbial “Other Shoe” to Drop

Watching Longhorn Games on TV No Matter What the Occasion (Funeral/Holiday)

The Avoidance of Heavy Traffic and Bad Weather At All Costs Even If It Means Not Going Out

Keeping A Stiff Upper Lip/Never Let Them See You Cry/Keep It In The Family

Inspired By The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: traditional