Saturday, June 16, 2007

Travelblogue, Day 2

Up early, greeted the day with a goodbye to friends over breakfast at our local dive--the kind with old men, regulars, who drink coffee and play checkers every morning of the year.

Mid-pancakes, I get the cell phone call I hoped I wouldn't receive THIS time, even though I believed, in my cynical heart of hearts, that I would: the driver slated to pick up my worldly possessions "filled his truck" elsewhere and wouldn't be coming. My moving "consultant" (give me a break) suggested we just leave the packed goods in my house and load them when the next available truck was coming through. I pointed out to him that I had hotel reservations tonight, had someone scheduled to help me with the final cleaning, and was due in Seattle mid-week.

He pointed out to me that the only option would be to bring a local truck, load my stuff, take it back to their warehouse, offload for the weekend, and then re-load when they got a westbound truck. Such a lot of toting and lifting! I pointed out to him that I sort of considered that HIS PROBLEM AND NOT MINE. He started to point out to me that...STOP RIGHT THERE...I pointed out to him that he had best STFU and get moving. OK, I didn't really utter THAT, but let's just say that he knew from the steel edge in my voice to drop the phone and run, not walk, to gather his strapping lads and burn rubber.

[goodbye to my breakfast 90 year old friend brought the little figurine I gave her to remember me by, and set it on the table during the meal.]

So they came, they loaded. In the meantime, 3 more friends showed up to hold vigil over me and my fury. We were standing around out in the garage, and one guy brought out a bookcase from my study. The one next to the couch, where my cat had slept for many years of his 19-year old life, just ended in January. When the breeze hit the bookcase, the bottom shelf released tufts of his hair. They lifted up, floated in the sunlight, and then drifted away on the breeze. My friends became reverent, silent. I felt all the emotion from the past weeks of packing, of saying goodbye, of deciding to leave, of letting my feline companion go, of my whole life, of the life of all all broke open and I sat down on the garage floor and wept. And wept and wept and wept.

After the movers left, my cleaning lady came over and helped me do the final run-through. Wiping out refrigerators, vacuuming, mopping...every pass of the rag an incantation: please let this house sell, please let this house sell soon.

Lunch with more friends. Standing outside the cafe, each one of us saying how we don't do goodbyes. So we didn't. Quick hugs all around, "see you during the holidays"--and we all turned on our heels and dispersed. Quickly.

Back to the house, the final walk-through. My best friend came, finally, to retrieve his vacuum cleaner. No words. Just tears and embraces.

The drive out of Minnesota and into South Dakota was marked by a timely phone call, great billboards, thunderstorms dancing all around me, Prairie Home Companion on the radio, and a bizarre sculpture of a longhorn bull rising up over the prairie.

I'm in Mitchell, SD. Tomorrow morning: the Corn Palace.

I am untethered.

It's OK.

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