Yep, thought I'd get back to the Writing Wednesday and share a little of my crap, I mean my brilliance with you. Today, since I've been diligently working on my rewrite of An Unbalanced Line formerly known as Cheesy, I thought I'd share a bit with you.
I started up my mom’s car—an angel blue convertible BMW. I backed out of the driveway and sat there in front of my house. My house that I’d never step foot in again, Suki standing out front weeping and waving. I waved back then headed down the street, through the neighborhood. I pass the cemetery and the Northpark Mall, toward I-55. After that it’s nothing but trees and pavement, trees and pavement, until I reach I-220. I’d swear there was about a church a mile as I continued south. I guess it wasn’t called the Bible Belt for nothing. We weren’t particularly religious people, but we did have a faith to us that may not be explainable in words and others may not understand. My mom was a deeply faithful person, but when it came to the aspects of religion that came from man himself, like the churches and the unwritten rules and such, well, I guess she was a bit of a rebel, which is why we didn’t belong to any denomination to speak of.
I-220 meets I-20 at the Metrocenter. I enter the highway that would take me all the way to Southpaw and my new life. I pass more trees, shopping centers, a few hotels. Before I hit the bridge that will take me over the Mississippi and into a different state altogether, I leave the highway for a short break, to grab a snack, to stretch my legs. I stop at the Kangaroo Express, buy a bottle of water and bag of Nacho Cheese Flavor Doritos, about the only kind of chips I can stand. I hop back into the Beemer and decide to take a short stroll through Riverside Park.
I park the car, grab my chips and head toward the river. Forgetting my jacket in the car, goose bumps break out as the cool spring breeze brushes across the surface of my skin. I wrap my arms around myself to keep warm. I follow the trail to the water. I tear open my bag and crunch into a chip as the water rushes past. The river’s not so different from time. When you look at it from a distance it almost seems to stand still, but the closer you are, the faster and more violent it rolls by, an unstoppable force. You couldn’t slow it if you tried.
Time seemed to stand still when mom first got sick, but then when the cancer raged full force, and she suddenly got worse, it was like fast forward. Suddenly she was dead. It still didn’t feel real—yet there I was driving my mom’s car across three states, chomping on Doritos, standing in front of the Mississippi River. In Mississippi. My home. Correction: former home. I breathed in the river and cotton, magnolias and the blues, and all things Mississippi, not knowing if I’d ever be back again.
When the Doritos were nothing but crumbs at the bottom of the bag and my fingertips were stained nacho-cheese-orange, I made my way back to the car, which at that moment I decided needed a name, climbed in, got back on I-20, and crossed the Mississippi River Bridge.