Listening to: The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
I headed west out of DIA – Denver International Airport - on my way home from dropping off my Thanksgiving guest, listening to the motor hum, lost in the quiet, no thoughts other than making my way towards the mountains in the distance, a serrated hem of smoky blue and gray. The day after Thanksgiving and the traffic was heavy, cars that had been lined up two deep at departures and arrivals were on the road, speeding towards Denver.
Stopping at the rip-off Conoco ($.50 a gallon more than in town!), I needed to piss, have a smoke. I lit up and looked out over the plains, thinking it looked less like Colorado and more like the wind-swept, grassy steppes of central Asia, my chin thrust into the breeze with the defiance of a Khazak nomad. Cars sped by on the highway below, people pumped gas and bought candy bars and energy drinks and yet I felt completely isolated, alone on the plains, pensive, taciturn. There was still another 75 miles to drive but my thoughts were lodged in the past, how I’d arrived there, overlooking hills brown with dead grass.
Six days previous, we’d driven by here, oblivious to the landscape, looking towards the road home, some small voice telling us both that this was our last visit. The visit was pleasant, heavenly at times but the specter of finality seemed to vibrate just below the surface. Things unsaid came to life in the day-to-day details of who we are and how we conducted ourselves.
In the drive to the airport, the unspoken heartbreak was finally given a voice. She said I’m self-absorbed, that she saw herself taking the lion’s share of the child-rearing if we were a couple. There is no doubt I’m self-absorbed, I conceded, although I took offense that my children were left wanting because of that. An impasse, I felt, we would never agree on this. All we would agree upon was that there was no use pursuing something that had little common ground, something doomed and mercurial.
The hills were bathed in an amber glow as I crushed out my cigarette butt and walked back to my car. Time to move on, to get back on the road and return home, to my life, to see what other roads there are.
So many roads to follow.