Wild Woman, before she knew
she was Wild Woman,
once packed up a little yellow Pinto with:
a ten day old baby, two small sons,
a St. Bernard puppy (who grew!),
an English pram, an Underwood typewriter,
and assorted cereals, breads and cold cuts.
That's the Before shot.
Behind the wheel was
an alcoholic con man,
temporarily disguised as
My Baby's Daddy,
with his calculating eye
and a beer never far
from his right hand.
Down Highway 101 we rolled,
past the glorious ocean
at which he refused to stop,
past the Monarch butterfly migration,
which we flew through,
because he was always rushing
to get Somewhere Else.
My baby daughter smiled
her first smile at me,
on that long drive.
We lived in and out of the car,
our own Hotel California,
for two months, give or take.
He had promised to get a job
and "look after you for a change"
but it didn't happen.
My kids grew lean and hungry
and once I wrote
the only bad cheque of my life
to get them some food.
(I repaid all of what this trip
- and this relationship - cost,
But it was all worth it,
to have my sunny little daughter.)
It was an adventure.
There were high moments, laughter,
the feeling of being young, and alive,
along with the worry,
and the coming to see
exactly how impossible
my life had come to be.
Late fall, we pointed the nose of the car north,
and made our way back up the coast.
I looked out at all the little houses,
the little yards, men washing cars,
moms hanging their wash out on the line,
and Normal had never looked
so good to me.
Note: on return, he hit the road, thankfully, and I was able to start my life over again from scratch, not for the first time, and not for the last. There is more to this story, but I'll save it for my memoir, LOL.
for Corey's prompt at Real Toads: Hitting the Road