My mother's call left me worried. "Come see me," she'd pleaded. "I miss you." I scribbled down the new address and checked the map. She was fourteen hours away.
Funny, how we do that- measure trips in hours instead of distance, as if we plan to drive straight through, dismissing the sights.
That's how my father always did it. The shortest distance between two points, and all that nonsense. He was pissed with me when I was twelve years old. I'd pointed out to him that, factoring in the curvature of the earth and the fact that road builders rarely construct straight paths between cities, the shortest distance between two points might actually be an arc.
He told me to shutthehellup and let him do the driving.
Maybe that's why my mother divorced him.
Or maybe not. She told me once that she was tired of playing Caroline to his Charles. I was astonished that she could ever say such a thing, but it rang true. My father had always pictured himself building a cabin, praising God and living off the land.
My mom, on the other hand, was more of a Hot Lips Houlihand. I never saw her any other way.
She's been calling out to me for several nights in a row. Sometimes she's still with my father. Sometimes it's my Poppy or James. Sometimes it's a new man altogether. Never mind that she passed away four and a half years ago. That issue never seems to come up when I see her in my dreams.
I wonder what she's up to that she should need to call out to me so often. It doesn't matter. I can never reach her. There's always a flood or a fire or maybe the roads wear away into impassable rivers of mud and sludge. I get bogged down in the muck. No matter what vehicle I take, car, boat, bicycle, Radio Flyer, I can't seem to remember until I wake up that I know how to fly...