The van sways, and I hear a crinkle as Dan opens another energy drink. Justin shifts in his seat. I hope he can sleep. I hope Preston can sleep, in his cramped seat, only partially reclined because Justin sits behind him.
I wish I could sleep.
I have the entire back bench to myself, and slept delightfully for the first few hours. Every time I woke up there was a soothing melody on the radio to lull me back to sleep. “Forget what we’re told, before we get too old,” and then I’d dose off again.
Then I got a backache. Maybe the seat belt buckle was digging into my back for too long. I tried to ignore the pain, but I cannot fall back to sleep.
I sit up, doing strange silent stretches to ease sore muscles. We are in the wilderness, surrounded by giant hills lit up in the moonlight.
I look carefully at the moon, trying to see a face.
On Monday, Dan insisted that there was a face on the moon, that he’d always been able to see it.
“You can see anything on the moon if you look hard enough,” said Justin, laughing.
“No, I’m serious, it’s there,” said Dan.
We shook our heads and laughed.
Later, as we were walking into Walmart, I saw Dan looking intently at his phone, then at the moon, then back at his phone. He stepped sideways suddenly, still looking at the moon, and crashed into me.
“Woah,” I said. “What are you doing?” I looked at his phone, which had a picture of a white circle with three black spots.
“I’m trying to draw the face on the moon,” said Dan.
Now, at four thirty in the morning, I try to recall Dan’s picture as I look at the moon. Ah! There they are, the three black dots that could be eyes and an open mouth. I wonder why I’ve never seen this before.
We round a corner, and suddenly, instead of moonlit hills, I see a valley filled with city lights. Just like that, wilderness to civilization. In my euphoric tired-but-awake state of mind, the scene is doubly breathtaking.
Where are we? Are we out of Colorado? Are we in Utah? I scan road signs for clues, to no avail. I bet we’re in Utah. Utah roads stretch on forever, taking you everywhere. Driving through Utah makes me think of the words of Tolkien.
The road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began
Now far ahead the road has gone
And I must follow of I can
Pursuing it with eager feet
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet
And whither then? I cannot say.
I would much rather email you as I am not a blogger. However, I found your book on our library shelf and I borrowed it for my daughter, Devon. She is eleven-years-old and has an immune disease. I thought she may find some comfort in reading a story about someone who struggles with illness. It rode around in our truck for a while….then landed in our pile of books. I am an English/ theatre teacher and this weekend was the worst wekend, ever. My daughter attends a public school (since I am a public school teacher..it seemed like a good idea )however, she misses an average of 45 days a year. Thus, I miss a great deal of school, too. Monday, Devon fell on the way to school. I had early morning duty for second term. We drive 45 minutes a day to get to work, so needless to say having to do early morning duty peeved me greatly as it took away our morning walk across the Middle School football field and our talks, laughs and prayers for good days. Not to mention that I have to stand outside on the side walk and just “look for anything unusual.” Seriously? I teach theatre, how am I suppose to know what usual looks like. Argh. Anyway, on Monday Devon fell in the sand pit, while trying to avoid texting, teenage drivers and their equally dangerous parents. I had to take her and sit in the Urgent Care for most of the day. Good news. Just a sprain. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday go by in a flurry of planning, department meetings, parent meetings, and career day fairs. Friday, Devon gets sick with vomiting…and what usually goes with vomiting. I hide her behind the puppet stage with a trash can and tell her to be quiet as possible if she vomits. The guidance counselor had to borrow my room for a bit and as I am the nicest teacher at GSHS, I said make yourself at home. Thus, the need for quiet puking. I go to the career fair. Fortunately, my students have it all handled, so I wrote up some plans for the sub. We go to yet another Doctor’s appointment. Saturdays, I teach Saturday school which pretty much means I have the students who are being punished for various reasons. I don’t mind these kids. They are my people. I also have Relay for Life and it is my weekend to keep my dad. He had a stroke in December and my step-brother and I take turns. He was going to take my turn, so I could do Relay for Life, but he had an emergency at work. He lives in Birmingham. I live five minutes down the road. I love my dad, but being called an idiot because I can’t find the paper plates in under five seconds makes me stressed. Then to top it all off, my principal emails me about the movie my sub showed…he lectures me and demands my lesson plans for next week on his desk before duty on Monday. Relay for Life, meanwhile needs my supplies for the art boothe. I sent them with one of the students who only had a 1/2 day. I still don’t know what happened to my art supplies. I am trying to manage two households this weekend. I have no wifi until today and I am so overwhelmed. I read your book this morning, while refilling my dad’s coffee cup. He drinks a pot of coffee, but since his stroke…he can’t do everything for himself and he is angry. I get the backlash. After, reading your book…I realized my life was way worse than I thought. You have a loving family. You can afford healthy food. I guess I am writing all of this because after reading your book, I feel that you may understand how difficult it is to get up again. Emily, I don’t want to get up anymore. I am 36. I have been on antidepressants since the age that you found out you had West Niles. I want more than anything, to take my child, husband and seven dogs to Colorado…hug and hold babies that are waiting for their mammas to get out of jail, and become a Mennonite. I envy your church family and support system. I want to be closer to God. Ah, well. This is my life until God reveals something better. So, I am wiping the tears from my face. I am going to write my lesson plans and cull my dad’s strawberries, wash his clothes, and clean the house. We have no food, but I’ll go to the Piggly Wiggly and stretch 150 bucks to feed three for a week. Thank you for our time together. The characters I read about are some of my closest friends.