Do you like our hashtag? We spent a long time trying to figure out what to call our trip. The other choice was “The Time We Drove Through Texas and Some Other States,” but that is longish.
Jess (also known as Seghs) got here today, after I spent the last week pretending to pack up stuff, but mostly just looking at my clothes and saying “Will I need a turtleneck in Rio? Nope? TOSS IT” and dropped off almost everything I’ve ever owned at the Goodwill.
So I picked up the Seghs, who, poor dear, had had quite the flight to get here. I decided the cure was a hike (because I’ve been saying goodbye to my favorite hike spots). We headed to Jordan Lake, and foolishly did not feed jet lagged travel-tired Seghs. We walked to my thinking spot, and then I got us fabulously lost for the next hour.
I was a happy clam, stepping on crunchy leaves and telling Jess about the spider war I was in with my Facebook friends. Perhaps not as enthused, Jess told me I could walk ahead, but to listen for the thud of her body hitting the forest floor, as she was close to fainting. Ever helpful, I offered to run ahead to the car to retrieve the Cheetos I had, but she declined. At one point I started to run ahead to see if I could see the car, or any sign of the right trail, and she cried out in terror that I might be leaving her.
In an effort to boost morale, I spent the next hour alternating between singing the opening song to “The Lion King” and “I Would Walk 500 Miles” in my best Irish accent, while promising we were “almost there.” I was then made to promise to never again use the word “almost” as it was clear I had no idea what it meant.
We finally found the car, I promised to never lead a hike again, and we headed to dinner. Pizza and beer has never tasted so good.
And now we are here. My last night in Durham. I sit in front of my beautiful fire place with a beautiful fire I made myself, nearly losing an eyebrow but gosh it’s pretty. Tomorrow morning we will throw the car top on, pack up my life, try to leave by 8am so probably leave by 10, and head to Savannah for our first scenic stop so I can get my cemetery fix and Seghs can see normal things. Then we will head to see my Dad for what may be the last time for a long time. The playlist is made, the road trip snacks at the ready, my roommate’s evil cat continues to plot my death. And I get dangerously sentimental as this becomes quite real.
The thing is, I will most likely never see any of these things again. I will not drive these stupid roads, where people are too polite to merge appropriately. I will not drag wood from the shed into this fireplace, and spend an hour coaxing it into a blaze. I won’t walk down to my lake, envisioning a brilliant sunset, only to be chased away by the prehistoric geese that live there. I’ll never again sit in church next to the beautiful woman who accents absolutely every other word our pastor says with a “hallelujah” “Jesus, Lord, mm,” “amen, sir.”
I’ll never again have this kind of time to attempt a novel, or try to learn how to knit (both fails). No more Bojangles and Zaxby’s. Pimento cheese, true barbecue, boiled peanuts on the side of the road.
Is there any other place besides the South that requires you to wave to absolutely everyone you walk/drive/fly past? Will any other place in the world respect the laws of lawn mowing every Saturday? When will I next wake up to a winter wonderland outside my door – a whopping three inches of snow that completely paralyzes the state for days? Will I ever have another grocery cashier who calls me “Miss Rachel” and somehow knows I “need help” and hugs me in the crouton section because I’m more afraid than I care to admit?
There have been some really great things about living here. It has been a painful but beautiful time in my life, if only to have learned so much about myself and those who love me.
See you soon, California!! And I want to hug all of you all at once. While eating a burrito.