I drove south on the freeway today, my mind turning to you as I passed it. The Killingsworth Exit. The exit that once led me to your door.
There was a time when driving past that exit would require a white-knuckle grip on the steering wheel to keep the tears at bay. Now, there is no extraordinary grip required. There was a time when the wounds were fresh, still bleeding freely and refusing to heal. They are but scars now. The faint lines across my soul where it was once torn.
There was a time when the mere act of passing the exit would send me reeling backward in time; back to stolen moments spent with you – laughing, sharing music, doing that anticipatory little dance in the kitchen before our mouths invariably met, melded and yielded all the sensual fruits we craved.
They were stolen moments. As surely as if we had snatched them from the shelf of the local convenience mart and furtively shoved them in our pockets, those days and nights together were purloined goods. They were moments that never should have been ours in the first place. Maybe that is why they felt so thrilling, tasted so unbelievably sweet. Maybe that is why there was such an empty hole left behind when they were gone.
I think about you from time to time. When I do, I feel no anger or bitterness swelling up inside me. I no longer feel the stabbing pain in my gut as the thought pierces me over and over: Why?
Now, when my thoughts turn to you they are simple. Are you happy? Do you spend your weekends with your daughter as you dreamed? Do you thrive in your job and have you set roots down in your new home? Have you decorated your home and what car did you replace the Pearl with? Do you grill flank steak and drink Iron Horse? Do you listen to Mule? Do you sleep well at night, knowing you are writing the chapter in your story you wanted? And sometimes I even wonder, do you ever think of me?
I don’t have any answers. That once drove me nearly mad – the lack of answers and the endless swirling questions. But like a tornado in my heart, the winds have died down. That funnel of wind, fueled by grief and silence, fed by the unknown and unattainable has faded. I won’t say my soul is at peace. That would be stretching the truth too far. But I will say that storm within has passed.
Now, when my thoughts turn to you as I drive past the Killingsworth sign, I raise my eyes momentarily to the clouds above and say a prayer that you are well. I pray you are whole and thriving, that your world is everything you wanted it to be. I wish you well and even if you don’t want it any longer, I feel the ties of friendship that for me, were never severed.
And I keep on driving.