I took a drive down to see my friend this past weekend. I usually go down every few months, so it really isn’t a big deal, but this time I took out my car for the first time. I haven’t had my own car in several years, not since my life fell apart back in 2011 and 2012, and my car got repoed at the end of 2012.
It’s difficult to put one’s self back together, especially after begin ripped to shreds by divorce and other former flames, unemployment, and a total disintegration of one’s identity. For a year or two, there was nothing left of me to even begin to mend myself anew. I was a tattered soul left to fray in the wind, and every setback threatened to pull the last remaining threads and unwind me completely.
But I persevered. I didn’t think I would, especially at first, but slowly I did begin to mend, unnoticed by anyone, including myself, but the frayed ends began to stitch themselves together, until one day I felt myself whole. I have no memory of the process, it working itself in secret, but I feel more or less complete.
So now I have a car of my own, the ultimate expression of freedom, and I drove down after work on Friday, spending the weekend there at her house. I spent Saturday with my step-daughter, something my ex-wife has been badgering me about for a while now. That evening we had a cookout and a small campfire in the front yard, and made s’mores.
Sunday me and my friend headed to McKinney and walked around downtown. Most downtowns I’ve seen are run down and mostly deserted, but McKinney has a lively square, with shops and diners open for business. I bought a jar of apple preserves from one store, and then sat down for a beer and pizza from The Mellow Mushroom. It had to be the best pizza I’ve ever eaten.
After our lunch, we headed to Frisco to meet up with some writer friends I have. It was nice to see them and to talk to them. My only mistake is that I didn’t take my laptop with me, so I didn’t get to work on anything while I was there. Still, it was a pleasant visit, though not long enough. They never are.
I drove back home on Monday, but I took a detour to Lubbock to see my niece who’s on the pep squad at her school. There was a game she was cheering at, so I decided to drop by and support her. I didn’t know the way, but I drove down unfamiliar roads to get there. I rarely like taking routes I’m not familiar with, but on Monday it was a nice change of pace, seeing sights I’ve never seen before. I didn’t get home until after eleven that night, completely worn out from the drive and the football game, but it was worth it.
As I think about it, life is much like that impromptu detour I took on Monday. I never planned on losing my marriage, or my job, or my car, but I took the unfamiliar road and I survived it. I came out the other side stronger and with a greater appreciation of the good things in life. I’ve seen sights I never thought possible, and I’ve grown as a person, becoming a better man, or so I hope.