I’m thinking of eggplant parmesan for dinner. Crickets, cicadas...sounds of deep summer. A dove song…
The truck driver:
Morning after morning, hour after hour, day after day, this truck driver thinks and wonders at the many experiences, relationships, beliefs that he has had over a lifetime and today.
I have one child, a son.Â Back when he was 5, 6, 7â€¦somewhere around that age, I recall a thing that developed, a gesture, on trips in the car, long trips.Â I would reach my hand back into the back seat, towards him, and I would feel his small hand take mine.Â No words, just a quiet moment, an assurance, a connection.Â I think that small gesture is an illustration of the good, the best in relationships.Â Sure, intimate, quiet.Â These moments with my son meant so much to me at a time in my life when other areas of my life were chaotic.
Friday morning in the truck, it was dark, I start driving.Â Patches of freezing fog, darkness.Â Southeastern Colorado along the Arkansas river, sage brush, yukka, sand.Â Many of the roads are straight as an arrow.Â In these driving conditions I do slow down, just a bit.Â iâ€™m just rollin along into this headlight halo of pavement and fog.Â A quick glance back into the sleeper, I see her sitting up, staring out the windshield, mesmerized.Â As morning light grows, more of the landscape is revealed.Â The fog still intense, threatening, we continue.Â I stretch my arm far back into the sleeper and she takes it. I grasp her hand and think of those times with my son.Â That same quiet intimacy.Â These moments are fleeting.Â Time is precious.Â This foggy road and itsâ€™ light, this moment.Â Perfect.
The app on my phone tells me when the next bus is gonna pull up in front of the truck stop, which will take us home, or to the stop 8 blocks from our home in Wheat Ridge.Â I donâ€™t like to check the app before the truck is parked and the engine is off.Â If it tells the bus arrives in like 5 or 8 minutes and Iâ€™m still getting off the highway, I will have a nervous breakdown trying to park this fucking truck.
This is how Iâ€™m wired.
A bit compulsive.
A bit obsessive.
Our last day in the truck may be just as exciting as the first.Â Freak outs are to be avoided at all costs.
You see, this is not only the end of a weekâ€¦itâ€™s the beginning of a weekend at home, together.
The girl had gathered the needed nickles and dimes for the bus fair a half hour before we arrived.Â The moment I came to a stop in the parking space, turning the key to the off position, I grab my phone and type in RTD21079.Â After a moment of thinking, my phone displays the message â€œ1 minuteâ€.
â€œRUN! ONE MINUTE! NOW!â€
We did it.
Feet on the ground, doors locked, we ran.Â Just as we crossed the street, I could see the bus making itâ€™s turn towards the bus stop.Â This is fun!Â On the bus we go.
Itâ€™s a fun walk home together, that 8 blocks.
On the way there, we come up with the plan.Â Grab the car, go back to the truck, grab all our stuff, bring it home, unload everything into the house, nap, shower, dinner at the Arvada Tavern at 5.
We drive through small town after small town.Â The old downtowns and their businesses struggle as the big box chains set up shop on the outskirts.
Do people realize, as they flock to these brand new, shiny stores that their decisions to shop there rather than with their neighbors are the decisions that are destroying their communities?
Day 6.Â My last breakfast oatmeal is moldy.Â It was too hot the first few days in Texas. I wish we could stop at one of these small town diners and eat breakfast, eggs and bacon.Â With sights set on the weekend though, Â I have corn tortillas, cheese, almond butter, dates and an apple for breakfast.
Heading across eastern Colorado on 86, the scenic route, toward the metropolitan areaâ€¦our destination.Â Itâ€™s time to get out of the truck.
Itâ€™s a narrow road, beautiful.Â He tells me if we go off the road here, we will go â€œdown thereâ€â€¦
He says, â€œyour side will take the brunt of the roll over.Â Youâ€™ll slide back and get trapped against those black pipes.Â Messy.Â Itâ€™ll be horrible.Â If that happens, you best high tail it over here with me as fast as you can.â€
I think, another lesson in truckÂ safety. I file that information away along with â€œdonâ€™t ever touch anything in a truck stopâ€.
Weâ€™re waiting for a man named Jose to take us to the job site so heâ€™s talking about the things that run through his mindâ€¦like driving down some muddy, gravel road to get to a job sight, getting the truck stuck, etc.Â Our lucky day, we are staying on the main road.
On the way to the truck stop Iâ€™m counting out bus money for the two of us.Â $2.60 each.Â Once parked, he checks his phone app to see when the next bus will be showing up.Â One minute.
â€œONE MINUTE? Weâ€™ll never make that.â€
â€œRUN! NOW!Â Weâ€™ll make itâ€
Grabbing my stocking cap, my coat and my water bottle, we jump down out of the big truck and take off across the parking lot.Â Iâ€™m trying to get my coat on, heâ€™s checking behind us for anything falling out of our pockets and to see if heâ€™s remembered to turn off the headlights.Â We run, trying not to get hit by any big trucks coming in on Friday for their weekend.Â He holds out his hand, I take it and we take off across the highway, through the slush and the muck and the snow on the other side and down the snow covered sidewalk to the bus stop.Â We make it, easily, with 30 seconds left to spare.Â Itâ€™s 2:00 on Friday afternoon.Â Weâ€™ll walk home together and come back for our stuff.