Friday, November 10, 2006

Many Miles Away

I sat on the hood of my car, watching the sun start to peek over the treetops and listening to the birds start their day with a song or two. As the sun got higher in the October morning sky it started to become obscured by the fog descending from above and settling on the stillness of the lake in front of me. Back home, miles away, I knew my wife and kids would still be asleep, not knowing I had departed to start my new life under cover of darkness. Sitting there watching the calm water give way to slight ripples as a cool breeze blew from the far end of the lake I wondered where I'd be tomorrow at this time. Or next week. Would I be sitting on the shore of a mountain lake in Montana? Or listening to the morning sounds of a large city awakening from a motel room in St. Louis. It was all so exciting, this adventure that I'd embarked upon with no concrete plans as to direction or means. A carefree life from now on, that was my dream, and it had taken me twenty years to find the courage to start living it. No more worries about picking up after kids. No wife nagging when things didn't get done. No bills piling up so high that there was little chance of ever getting out of debt. I was going to be my own boss, maybe settle someplace out west and find a good-paying job so I could send some back to my family. It wouldn't be right not to. Maybe find a nice woman, someone who could put up with my idiosyncrasies like my wife has for all these years. Do the things I loved to do but never had much time to do them, like fishing and camping. The life that I'd built over the last twenty years or so, my daily routine, my job, friends, were all going to be things from my left-behind past as I started that first day of independence. I briefly thought of the list of things to do that I'd left back home, little household fix & repair things that needed done. I wouldn't have to worry about that list anymore. Those things wouldn't get done, but that wasn't my problem now. I was soon going to be celebrating the upcoming holidays in a different state, a different time zone, maybe even a different country. Someplace fun. With no worries of trying to figure out schedules for dinners, times to visit family, no need bothering to make those dreaded last-minute -Christmas -present buying runs. I'd be relaxing by myself when that time rolled around. No more hassle, no more family, no more...love. Yes, I had to admit to myself that there were those precious few times when our family joined as one and we all felt the comfort of each other's presence. It was worth putting up with all the trouble of the holidays just to have that one day. But I didn't need that from now on. A line was going across the lake, leaving a small wake as it came closer to the shore near me. I saw that it was a snake swimming toward the rocks, probably where it called home. I didn't think I'd ever seen a snake out this late in the year. Besides me, it was the only other living thing at the lake that day. I unconciously fingered my wedding ring, a habit I'd had for years. Staring at it for a while I thought of our wedding day. There had been so much promise for those two young people just starting out, but over the years the marriage had deteriorated into.... boredom..? No, maybe just a little bit of boredom, but I really couldn't complain. As our family had grown, the weight of responsibility I felt kept pressing me into the same routine, molding me into a shape that I didn't envision when my first child was born. That was the beginning to the end of my carefree life... Wasn't it? I loved all my children and wanted to be the responsible parent, right? But now I was here, sitting at the edge of a lake, ready to end all those responsibilities for a chance at.... what?
It was time to get going. I started the car and slowly drove down the gravel road that parallelled the lake, taking a long, last look at the serene setting where I'd just spent the past few hours. At the end of the gravel road I looked to the left, the way I'd come, the direction of home, then to the right. That was the direction of my new, different, exciting life, just waiting for me to venture into it. I knew which direction my destiny lay, and I left my fleeting thoughts of a new life where they'd been all along, many miles away.

4 Comments:

Blogger Laura said...

Good Post, right choice. We all get those feelings of "What if I could start all over from scratch" occassionally, especially during difficult times. But there is nothing better than the love of family and nothing worse than the pain of loneliness.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Michelle's Spell said...

Tim,

I loved this post. My biggest fantasy involves throwing my cell phone out my car window -- it's sometimes so hard to deal with all the demands and strains of life. Have a happy Saturday!

8:15 PM  
Blogger JR's Thumbprints said...

It's great to have these thoughts of complete freedom; however, in the end, I believe I know what road you chose. I can relate 100%. Keep at it, and enjoy those moments of freedom.

10:14 AM  
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