We went missing in the summer and only I came back. That’s what it felt like. Or perhaps it would be more apt to say that your father came home in the car with me, but only a major portion of him. Some of him, a significant minority, is still there in Tennessee. But, you know, a majority is enough to get things done.
You were a tiny baby then and now you are a child. Your brother was a child then and now he is an adult, or close enough. You both stayed with Poppy and Granny With The Glasses while your dad and I went to Nashville.
By all accounts you had a great time with them. It was an unusually hot summer that year; so hot your Poppy at some point stopped talking about how hot it was. That should have made the local news along with the buckled asphalt and the fountain in front of the county library drying up. Your dad’s car didn’t have AC so the hot wind roaring through the windows stripped my lips ragged and your dad’s shirt collar was dry to the touch as I rested my hand across the back of his neck, even though it soaked through almost immediately once we stopped to fill up the car and stood laughing and sipping Cokes under a sagging sign with a painted arrow pointing downwards.
Your brother will leave for college on Sunday. That has to count for something. They send letters, real letters on paper when they could just email, to tell you in vague terms how much of a debt he will dig himself into, hangover by missed class by hangover. We will all drive him there, to his leafy liberal future. On this trip we will take my car, which has AC, which, as we drive further north, we will probably not need.
We went missing that summer and we were meant to find something. We found our way back again, for all intents and purposes. That’s just about it.
2 notes /