What I remember, when I was maybe four years old, is staring up at the night sky through the back window of my father’s hatchback. We were on the road and it was dark, except for the billions of stars above me. I could feel the tires of the car, a flesh-colored Volkswagen Dasher, on the highway, and it was so late at night, or maybe so early in the morning. I was tired, but being lulled back to sleep by the movement of the car, the smell of the car’s dry heat coming from the plastic vents, and the soft glow of the lights in the dashboard. My brother, a year and a half younger, was asleep next to me. It is a brief memory, but one that I have held onto for some reason.
The events surrounding the memory are a little less clear. I seem to recall my dad waking me up in the middle of the night – or was it early morning and still dark? – and telling me and my brother to get up, that we were going. I can’t remember if the car was packed with our belongings. Previous to that night, I don’t remember my dad packing our things, or telling us we were moving, although I’m sure he did and I was just too young to really know what it meant. I don’t remember arriving at our destination, or if a moving truck was involved. I didn’t know at the time why we were moving.
It was the first time though, that I remember knowing, really understanding, that my mother was not with us, would not be joining us along the way, and would not meet us there. I didn’t know when my brother and I would see her again. I worried that she wouldn’t know how to find us. I worried that we would not see her again, or that perhaps we would be too old and that she wouldn’t recognize us.
And as those stars slipped across the night sky, as we dashed along the highway moving from our home in Wisconsin to our new home in Oklahoma, the distance between me and my mother seemed to grow greater and greater, until we became no closer than the nearest stars in the sky.
Related post: Silence is never louder than when you should be asleep
This is Day 4 of Writing 101. Today’s assignment was to: Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more. And the twist: Make today’s post the first in a three-post series.
I really struggled with this post in that I couldn’t think of what to write about, let alone how to incorporate it into a three-post trilogy. I thought of all kinds of losses – people, pets, objects, games…but nothing really stood out, until I found this memory, lurking in the corner of my mind. It wasn’t a permanent loss; today, my mother is very much a part of my life, I am happy to say. I’m not quite sure how this will start my trilogy, but I’ll think of something, eventually!