East of Omaha–(The Long Walk Home)

May 31, 2007 at 12:37 AM | Posted in Personal | 2 Comments
  I wrote the title before I even wrote this.  Let’s see how accurate it is, and how far I ramble off the beaten path.

  A few years ago–about this time of year, in fact–I hit a deer on the way home.  I was working late at Papa John’s, brought some pizza home, and in fact, I was close to home.
  Just outside of town, on the highway, as I crested a hill and began my descent.  Immediately, there on the left was a deer.  It spooked, and I could see it wanted to get past me, so it tried to go under me.  Not much luck with that.  I was going 65 miles an hour.
  My hood flew straight up in the air, and I skidded to a stop.
  The problem?  Or, problems?
  Well, I was in the left lane.  I was just beneath the crest of a hill on a busy highway, and I couldn’t move the truck.  I got out and looked around, one of the top seven stupidest things I’ve ever done.  I’m on the meager left shoulder of this divided highway, and as I try to survey the damage, cars continue to come over the hill, panic and swerve out of the way.  What to do, what to do?  Hmm.. . Well, let’s sit here a bit longer and think about it.
  As I stood to the left of the truck and the pavement, an SUV came over the hill in the right lane.  Another, larger, SUV came over the hill in the right lane, intent on passing the other one.  And then there is my truck, mere yards away, with the flashers on.  The larger SUV could not get over into the other lane, so–he passed the truck on the left.
  Where I was.
  He swerved again, and went into the grass, through the median, down the ditch, up the ditch, and up on the highway on the other side, by now a quarter mile away. 
  Okay, that’s it.  I got in the truck, started it, and drove it quickly but carefully to the other side, to the shoulder proper–all the while listening to a multitude of sickening crunches and metal stress induced squeaks and groans.  But now I was (relatively) safe.
  I walked.
  On that long walk to the nearest phone, I had time to think.  I thought of many things, and the first thought I had repeated itself throughout the montage:  I sure could use a cell phone.
  But I thought other things, too, like the other times I’ve had to walk, or been stranded.  I thought wearily that the night was far from over, and I was right.

  But what direction do you choose, when you walk home?  What is the destination?  I bought a car for my son today.  I drove up to Troy after work–my son and my daughter now live about 45 miles away from me.  I talked to him on the phone, we made arrangements. 
  Maybe it wasn’t him; maybe it was me–but in my over-sensitivity, I felt a distance between us.  The same I felt with my daughter when we talk.  I left my wife, I didn’t leave my children.  Not really.  That wasn’t what I wanted.  But I made a choice.
  I stopped by the house–my ex wasn’t there–to see my daughter, and my son, before we go to get the car.  I made some chit-chat, my daughter excitedly showed me her new kitten, and we talked a bit.  There was about half an hour before we were supposed to meet the guy–
  "I gotta go.  I need to run to the store before we do the thing–"
  We said goodbyes, and I left.  Why couldn’t I stay for a few more minutes, and be with my kids?  Why?  I just felt.. ..Ah, you know, I felt damn uneasy, man.  Damn uneasy.  It wasn’t my house anymore, but it was full of my stuff, my kids, my memories.  I really was a stranger in my own fucking house.  I felt like I was on the Twilight Zone, looking in the mirror, and the face looking back wasn’t mine.
  I want to see my kids, I do.  My son is old enough, and independent–he can come and see me when he wants.  With my daughter I will have structured visits soon.  In my house, on my terms.  [I need to get a background check on Detroit–do you believe it?  The Storm wants to make sure it’s a safe environment for my daughter.  Whatever.  Detroit isn’t nearly as insane as The Storm.  No more than, like 20%]
  So I will have my daughter for every other weekend, blah blah blah.  Looking forward to it.  But my son–my son has a choice, he has freedom.  Would he ever choose to come and see me?  He just got a car, and I’m worried as hell about him.  Worried about losing him, worried about him drifting away.
  And then I remembered me, being that age.  I kinda drifted away from my parents, too.  Newfound freedom, discovering yourself and the world, and all that crap.  Eventually, I did come back, and became good friends with my dad.
  I want him to do the same.  I want him to know he can make that same long walk, and I’ll be there.




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  1. when, in the future, Mitchell decides to leave his wife, the good ol\’ spare room is there for him! maybe even the same bed, lol. we both know he\’ll get married, and that leads inevitably to a divorce, so … just thinking ahead.
    why is it that even when they\’re supposed to be grown, they\’re still our kids?
    love you

  2. I grew distant from my parents at that age.
    I think its the only way we/they can start to be adults.
    You need to pull away.
    I soon bounced back and my parents were my best buddies.
    I\’m glad you will soon have visits with your daughter.

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