Leaving. Saying goodbye, moving on, letting go. They all go hand in hand. You cannot truly do one without doing parts of them all. It is like the time when you are a small child and want to do something grand, only to learn that what you had to give up to get that experience is a part of your childhood. You can’t go backward and I think that’s probably for the best.
It was Saturday, July 24th of 2010. My parents came over early and we collected the trailer. I remember my Dad making me back up the Blazer to hitch up. He wanted me to do it all. I know now that he was terrified of sending his baby girl on this road trip by herself. Three times on the trip back to my apartment he reminded me to fill up on gas every time I stopped to stretch my legs, which he wanted me to do every two hours or so. I promised and I told him again and again that I’d be careful. He was saying goodbye the way he knew how.
Back at my apartment, my Mom and sister had taken over the organization of what would be going into the trailer, what was being thrown away, and what would go home with them to be stored indefinitely. The couch my sister had loaned me was tucked into my parent’s van, with it the tv I’d bought not long before, a desk, some instruments. Things I didn’t have room to take along. Things I needed to set aside. I was moving on with my life the only way I knew how.
All too soon, everything was loaded. All too soon, the keys were handed back to the managers. All too soon, it was time to begin and end in one moment. I’d never lived more than three hours from home. Knowing that this would be hard, I made the choice to start my trip with a three hour drive to a friend’s, rather than staying the night with my parents. The windows were rolled down, I was buckled in, my Mom was clutching my hand. We both were choking back tears, my sister cracked a joke, and I drove away. Ten minutes later, I called my Mom. I asked a question, she gave advice and wished me a safe trip. She asked me to let her know when I made it safely to each stop. She was letting go in the only way she knew how.
It was Sunday, July 25th of 2010. Leaving my friend’s house was not hard. Stopping for kolaches at West was pleasurable. Texting him to say I had truly begun was exciting. Then came driving over the Red River. I had done it before, but never like this. I pulled in to the visitor’s center at the border and I cried my heart out. Good bye, moving on, letting go. I was leaving in the only way I knew how.