Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Distance
I drive by my past once a week. It's spread out like a necklace, link-to-link, as I travel the short stretch between my mothers house and my office. Down the rural route that I once thought was the be-all and end-all of roads in our state (and was later shocked to discover that my husband had never even driven on it) - my past winks at me at each turn.

First, the building that brought our family to the area - a twice (or thrice) bought and sold office building where my father's van spent nearly a decade, parked by the back door. I would wave at it from the backseat of my mother's car if we happened to pass by while he was working.

Just beyond the parking lot is a pair of tennis courts and an athletic field - where I took gym classes and played soccer. The booth at the top of the stands is now orange with large black tiger paws, but the field remains the same. Pepsi-cola scoreboard towering over a football length field, circled by a pummeled gravel track.

Keep driving. Pass by the playground where I worked in an after school program, where I swung barefoot at midnight with friends as a teenager, where I went on warm spring afternoons with my preschool class. Next, of course, is the preschool - followed by the corner store where we bought penny candy, sucked on smarties.

Keep driving. I pass the building where we held our rehearsal dinner for our wedding - it's now an office park. Two buildings down is the hall where I sat through Mother's Day luncheons, eating swollen ziti with fellow girl scouts. It's also the hall where five years ago, I danced my first dance with my husband.

Keep driving. Pass the best soft-serve ice cream you'll ever taste - but never will. It's now an Enterprise Rental Car office. Then there's shell of the grocery store that once fired me over a stolen kiwi. Then there's the Wendy's that popped up on the town line and prompted the McDonald's on Main Street to hang banners and flags - terrified of losing it's place as the fast food heart of the town.

Keep going beyond the town and there are small shops I went with my mother - then the private school she worked at - and ultimately, I arrive at the hospital she works at now. The hospital that gave me my first job, the first job I quit. The building where both of my children have been born. The children I dropped off this morning, at the start of day, at my mother's house, before driving through two decades of my life, and arriving here.

No wonder they seem so far.

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3 Comments:

Blogger thechick said...

You write beautifully. I've just discovered your blog, but I think I'll come back quite often...
Thank you!

Blogger Owlhaven said...

This was great!! I loved the unexpected ending.

Mary

Blogger zhoen said...

The difficulties of nostalgia.

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