It’ll Be Just Like Starting Over

September 11, 2006 at 1:35 PM | Posted in Journal | 1 Comment
  I’ve had to tell the story a few times already, so I suppose it merits one last retelling.  Detroit and I leave from our flat Thursday morning about 9 AM (all times are given in central time, which is also Tulsa time, which is what we live on), pick up the trailer, and we head out about 11 AM from the St Louis Metro.  What should have been a 9+ hour drive to Detroit (the city, not the person) turned into an 11 hour ordeal.
  First of all, pulling an empty trailer that took to the wind like a kite meant we had to drive no faster than 60 mph’s all the way.  Then we hit a construction zone on a tollway near Chicago (the city, not the person) during rushhour.  We arrive in Detroit (city) at almost midnight, get a hotel room and crash for the evening.  In the morning, Detroit (the person) and I drive to her. . .old house.
  This is not my discussion to have, or to write about.
  And yet, I will.
  Let me give you my observations.  I’m sure Detroit (city and person) will have a different perspective.  This is what I saw.  We get there, I stand off out of earshot, while Detroit and Mr Wonderful converse.  Then they go house, and Detroit (person) signals me to wait.
  So I wait.
  I waited an interminably long time.  Objectively, about an hour.  Subjectively, 40 years in the desert.  What I thought was happening, what I imagined was happening–some of it was right.  Most of it was wrong. 
  I did imagine that he would ask her to come back, to work it out, to give them another try.  I also imagined that. ….in my worst nightmare, she relents, and agrees to try to work things out.  This has no basis in reality, and nothing she has ever said or done would indicate this is a possibility.  Nonetheless, it was a fear I had, creeping onto the edge of my flesh.
  I imagined that he would try to hurt her, and wondered if I should come in to break something up.  I imagined him coming out onto the porch with a bloody knife, looking for me.
  I imagined her coming out onto the porch with a bloody knife, needing an accomplice.. .
  But they talked, and, as Detroit (person) told me later, it was more than they had talked, total, in the whole year, possibly longer.  Once he accepted the inevitable (and thank God, for me, despite my ridiculous fears, that it was inevitable; that would have been one shitty ride back to St Louis by myself), they were able to talk, reach agreement and understanding on many issues and details of import in a breakup such as this.
  And then I met the man.  The myth.  The legend.  The antagonist in all of Detroit’s (person [getting a little annoying, isn’t it?  Live with it]) writing.  He treated me much more civily than I would have expected.  We never shook hands, however we managed small talk, and even joked about a few things in the most awkward of manners.
  Still, he hung around and chatted until it was time for him to go pick up his kids.  As soon as he was gone, I backed the truck and trailer into the driveway, and, with Detroit’s (you understand now, right?) son to help, I loaded truck and trailer, got everything taped up, packed up, tied down, and was done before they came back.  I enjoy the ironic dictomy of, before he left, empty trailer.  He comes back, trailer full.
  We took Alex out to dinner before we left, and I had some good conversation with him, I felt.  He is a good kid, a good person.  I hope he feels the same about me.
  The older son?  Words fail me.  They apparantly fail him as well, because he said NOT ONE WORD to anyone, even his own mother, the entire time we were there.  Mr W’s kids?  No opinion on them either, except that the older daughter is the typical bitchy whiny self involved slut that you will find in any high school.  My condolences if you have one.
  As I said, I was able to get along with Mr W.  As the day wore on, however, his congeniality gave way to a barely concealed snarkiness and ill-prepared sarcasm.  His comments and little asides were justified, in his view, but they left me feeling embarrassed for him, that he couldn’t come up with better material.
  I don’t hate the guy.  In fact, I don’t even dislike him.  I see in him many similarities to my ex, where they don’t realize their behavior drives people away.  I am grateful to him, as well, because Detroit (person) came to me.  I’m sure he thinks of me as the bastard homewrecker, and I took his woman away.
  But I could never have taken her if she wasn’t willing to be taken.  Same goes for me.  We didn’t steal each other away from the other person’s spouse.  We just both happened to be at the right place at the right time, and pulled each other’s asses out of the fire.
  The important thing is, he is going to take care of Alex, and therefore I will be civil with him.  I was going to write a ripping, sarcastic piece about him, but why bother?  I mean, normally, my feeling is that, if you can’t kick a man when he’s down, when can you kick him?
  But there is an unwritten, unspoken guy code at work here.  He will accept defeat as gracefully as he can, and I won’t rub his nose in it.  That’s all I got.
  So we say our goodbyes, and leave.  Me, Detroit, Alex, and Mac.  We get Mac in the back seat of the truck.  I realize, tactfully, that she and Al are going to have the last goodbye, so I shake his hand, look him in the eye.  He says to me, "Take care of my mom."
  "Don’t worry, dude.  That’s my job."  They hug and kiss goodbye, and we roll.  The tiny pickup–this is a V-6 Ranger–is loaded down, and the trailer is full and tied down.  Seriously full.  We hit the highway.  We left at roughly 9 PM Central time, on Friday night.  The trailer has no taillights, and only one working brake light.  I can go no faster than 55, and usually just 50.  This is a 600+ mile trip.
  Plus, we have to stop every 37 minutes, it seems like, for me or Detroit or the dog to pee, or to get gas.  Why can’t this shit be coordinated?
  About 4:30 or 5:00 AM, we stop at a truckstop on the St Louis side of of Indy, park, and sleep for about an hour and a half.  We get up, and the sun is up.  After we eat breakfast, we are back on the road.  More of the same, but at least it is daylight.  At every stop I had been giving the vehicle train a walk around, checking the tires, the hitch, the load tie-downs, and fluids in the truck.  Finally, we make it home.  One fucking thirty in the afternoon.  A ten hour drive took us sixteen and a half fucking hours!  Fuck me gently with a chainsaw.
  My son came over and helped me unload, and I had time to take a shower and take a short hour and a half nap before leaving to go into my second job that night.  When I came home that night, I took out my contacts, brushed my teeth, and just went to bed.  I thought I said to Detroit, "I’m just gonna go lay down–"
  But apparently I said nothing, and just crashed.
  That’s okay.  My baby is home with me now.

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  1. Aww so sorry the ride home was a bummer. Guess that is why people use those
    U-haul trucks if they can. I can\’t believe you guys are all set up already. I bet she is glad to all her stuff and get it into the new place. GLad to hear it went okay and you are on your way to the new life. Thanks for letting us all know how it went.  :  )

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