I’m on the road again.
This time it was from Jersey, south to Maryland.
Every piece of the road, every rest stop, every billboard, every bridge…all were familiar to me. Chuck and I drove this route our second year out as Happily Homeless, as we made our way to Key West for the first time.
Our red Ford Escape and miles to go, absorbing the anticipation of all the alone time we’d have, exploring the sunny beaches and hidden treasures of the far south.
It was before his first cancer, before the desperation of surgeries and uncertainty and exhaustion and then…hope. He beat it. We were okay. Our world was alright again.
And on we traveled.
Our travels took us south to Key West one more time and we drove these roads and as I drove them this time, alone, towing my pink trailer behind me, I remembered the thrill I would feel, each time, as we opened the sun roof and blasted the tunes and felt the wind in our hair and sun on our faces and we’d stop wherever we wanted and walk around whatever beach town we were in, or stop along the bridges and absorb the freedom that was in our hearts and we’d kiss and hold hands and revel in the time wealth that was ours, as Chuck had named it.
I’ve been asked why do you continue traveling if it’s so painful? Why don’t you settle down somewhere? Wouldn’t it be easier?
And each time I say no, it wouldn’t be easier. Not for me. Yes, traveling alone is painful; memories pop out everywhere on the highways and the county roads and narrow pathways and through big cities and small towns and rows of houses that are towns that barely have a name. But it’s no less painful than it would be if I settled somewhere. Somewhere where Chuck isn’t. Where he wasn’t, so how could he be there now? My link with him is tenuous as it is and the only way that I feel that I’ll find him in any way, connect with him in any way, is out on the open road where we spent the last of our 4 years together, years that were happy and exciting and passionate and filled with joy and kisses and long walks and strenuous hikes to the highest point of whatever state we were in, marveling at mountains and valleys and national parks and off the beaten path finds and….life. We rejoiced in our lives together and lived fully and gratefully, with awareness of how fucking, fucking blessed we were.
So, yeah, I’ll stay out here on the road, thank you very much. And I’ll grimace when the grief stabs at my heart and I’ll cry when it’s too much and I’ll remember oh look over there is where we stopped for lunch and I’ll drive and drive and drive and most of all, most of all, above all and no matter what….I will share with people the story I shared with him, that a man and a woman found each other many years ago and got married and lived a beautiful love story and it was crazy insane that it even happened but it did, even though I didn’t believe in fairy tales until I lived one and now, now I remember one, and…it was mine~