She just sat there on the front porch, smoking Camel Blues, sipping diet Dr. Pepper, and watching as I scurried back and forth, worker ant-like, schlepping boxes and boxes and boxes and sundry other shit to my Ford.
Never said a word.
Never shed a tear.
I was leaving her!
What the fuck?
(You live with Meskins, expect beans on the menu, ever’ once in a while.)
Stiff upper lip and all that jazz…
After I had packed the Ford to the point of tightness unimagined (you could have poured a bottle of Jim Beam into it and not one drop would escape), I walked to the front porch and announced,
“Well, I guess that’s it then.”
“You’re leaving now?”
“Yeah, that’s the plan,” I said.
She stood up, looked me in the eye. I threw my arms around her and hugged her deep.
Now we were both crying.
I managed to blurt out something profound…
“I’m so sorry Helen.”
“Take good care of you,” she said, blinking back the tears.
I slow-walked to the Ford, looking back through MY tears only once. Got in, cranked her up and drove away.
The part where the cowboy rides away…
Took me a block an’ a half to stop crying.
Then I was so over it.
Four blocks later I realized I could not see out of my side-view rear-view mirror. My dismantled computer chair in the passenger seat was blocking my vision. This would never do. I pulled into a vacant parking lot and jettisoned said computer chair.
Just left it there in the dust.
With my life.
Merry Early Fucking Christmas to someone.
Some homeless one in Memphis.
And drove on, westward.
Nine minutes later at sixty-five miles per hour, I was crossing the Big Muddy and entering Arkansas.
I had achieved escape velocity.
I turned on the radio.
Loud and proud.
CDB was screaming something about Trudy and telephones.
And calling her.
I cranked it up and sang along.
Very happy and oh so fucking proud of me.
My new life had just begun.
Just another tequila sunrise.
As I drove west with the sun over my shoulder.
So many thoughts were flying around in my head, knat like… buzzing.
I was almost giddy.
I was staring down six hours of road trip.
No big deal, but it had been almost ten years since I had taken to the road or air or sea, and I was just a mite apprehensive.
“You can do this Lance,” I whispered to me over the radio, now playing Van Morrison.
“Here That Robin Sing.’
Hours and hours and hours into Arkansas (when did Arkansas get so fucking BIG?)
I found a trucker’s rest stop and so I stopped.
Stretched my legs.
“Where is Texas?” Halfway through Arkansas…. And halfway from what I had called ‘home’ for ten years.
“What am I doing?”
“Going West, Young Man, Goin’ West.”
“Oh yeah, I almost had forgotten.”
By and by I hit the “border”
(On the border)
Wanted to stop and take a selfie in front of the sign what read, “Welcome To Texas, Drive Friendly.” But it was Interstate and not safe to do so, so I just kept on driving.
And singing at me!
“Texas! Oh Texas!”
“You are finally home, Cowboy!”
Keep driving, I suppose.
I had pre-arranged a ‘garage’ to store my shit.
A ‘rent-a-space’ shed in Commerce.
Got a phone call from the proprietor….
“Lance, you still coming?”
“Yeah, fast as I can, but I will not arrive in time for your departure. Can you HBO? Help a brother out? I will arrive Commerce about 1800 hours…. Leave the key in the lock box or something; I want to off-load my shit before I go to the hotel.”
“Sure, got a CC number for me?”
“Yeah, no worries.”
That sorted, I drove on.
Presently I arrived Sulphur Springs.
And promptly got lost.
Could not find the road to Commerce.
It had been some years and beers and tears since I had had to make this trek.
Finally found the proper road and guess what?
It was ‘under construction’ as they do.
Took me some few little minutes to navigate through that, but…. Finally… on the road again.
Commerce in my sights now.
Sped into town, saw Whitley Hall, High Rise and shouted out loud: HOME!
“Thank fucking God!’
(And this was a push for me, for as you know, I am an atheist)
Found the ‘rent-a-shed’ and off-loaded my shit.
Went to the Adult Beverage Store.
Then found the Magnuson, formally known as “The Holiday Inn Express,” checked in, and got very, very, very drunk.
Chapter Two Coming…
Chapter One is Done!
Writing is hard!
As is my wont, I drop in music.
Music defines me, and yes, my life has a soundtrack.
I suppose this don’t make me nothing special.
Just yet one more schmuck.
Trying to get by.
And Waiting for Godot
(Vain reference from my college / university daze.)
Read it on the wall.
Blue moon with heartache.
Nick of time
“Scared you’ll run outta time.”
Love has no pride
This old cowboy—MTB
Blinking back the tears.