This is the summer of do it. Or don't. The summer where I decide if I'm really going to jump in with both feet and believe in me. I've never really given that much attention before. It's never seemed so important. I've never wanted to do it for myself before. And I've always failed. I've tried doing it for my kids. I've tried doing it to be a good example. I've tried doing it to make myself rich and famous (the writing part). This time, none of that is more important than seeing if I can walk the talk. Maybe I'll fail again this time and maybe the bar's too high, but this is it.
The summer of do it.
--- Excerpt from the writing project I've been focusing on. I have an outline in my head, thus the title of tonight's short blog ---
The drive from Albuquerque to Grants was, at best, uninteresting. The world seemed to be brown in every direction except the sky. Mount Taylor loomed to the north, growing as the miles melt away behind, and eventually the freeway ras through a bizarre patch of lava run-off that looked almost like it was put there by a landscaper to spice things up.
During the drive, Daniel turned his radio up loud enough to vibrate his windows. A local station with a pop-music twist and DJ's who seemed to be selling something every two minutes. It kept him from thinking.
He'd read the police report before leaving LA and he knew the location of the accident based on the officer's description. He had even used Google Maps to get a better idea of the place where his family was single-handedly slaughtered. His in-laws had been disgusted by the amount of information he had acquired and tried to share. But, he couldn't help it. He didn't know any other way to process what had happened. At 11 pm he had told his wife to drive safely and wished his children sweet dreams, made them promise to be good for their mother so that she could concentrate. By 12, they were all dead or close enough to it that they might as well have been. It didn't make sense. The details were like a puzzle that just wouldn't fit together correctly no matter which way he tried. Officer Baca had been more helpful than any one person should be. Patient. Kind. Grieving with Daniel. Baca had been the first officer on the scene, had even held Daniel's wife in those first moments of discovery, had lifted Trevor from the back seat and onto the stretcher where his life leaked out, had prayed for a speedy journey to the other side, wherever that might be. Baca had not tired of relating his experience to Daniel. It was therapeutic, almost, for both of them.
With the music thumping against the windows and the red, brown, black landscape streaming by, Daniel purposely averted his eyes from the spot where his wife had died. There was still debris in the road, pieces of glass that glittered in the sunlight. He would come back later, he promised, to say good-bye. Not yet.
On the outskirts of Grants, as the small town began to crop up as gas station signs and small square houses, Daniel pulled off to the side of the freeway and let his head rest against the steering wheel. This last leg was the hardest so far. Everything else had been a blur, a numbness, but with every mile this became more real. Elana was dead. Trevor. Alicia. Kymball. Danny. He had driven over and past the place where they died. They drifted around him now, corporeal, thrumming in time with the music and brushing lightly against his heaving body.
It was too much to face.
For a flickering moment, Daniel thought of dropping his foot on the accelerator and letting the rental car slam into the overpass just ahead. But, he couldn't. Elana would be so angry. For her, he wouldn't.