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seven through nine

we stopped by the post office to relocate "tub", the affectionately named rubbermaid container with approximately four cubic feet of rachel's belongings. tub had been transferred from pasadena, to a corner of my apartment, to the rear passenger side of my car, and now via the local post office/pharmacy/soda fountain, to its final destination of rachel's future boston apartment. we parted ways with todd, off to our newly modified late afternoon/dinner date in lexington. the late night ironing session left me more tired than i had realized; rachel napped to leave me with my coffee and unfortunate road rage-yness. we made it to lexington to find john standing in his front yard, assuring that we would not pass by his house. we met brother, parents, and every family pet; we learned about the standing feud between john's father and their curmudgeonly parrot, george. john took us on a driving tour of his hometown, and we wondered at the determination, strength, and rationality of thieves that would steal a life-size bronze statue of a thoroughbred from a city park. we wrapped up our brief visit with a dinner at jimmy john's and conversations about future careers.

rachel and i continued north to oxford, where we would meet up with john again the next day. though over three hours from my apartment, crossing back into ohio was like a tiny homecoming for me after spending the last seven days in as many states. we were told that the steel band concert we thoroughly missed was great, and joined college friends lance and amber for a stroll across campus to shriver center. i opted against the jaw-dislocating "carmel" apples, and the four of us eventually drove south to cincinnati. they stayed in a church community house with some friends of rachel's, and i spent the night with old friend and housemate, joy, about a mile or two away. joy and i caught up and chatted and conversed until 2:30am, where i drew the line and insisted it was waaay past my bedtime. i left for oxford the next[?] morning, picked up my two free homecoming tickets courtesy of alumni band, and then saw my friend intisar for the first time in about three years. john joined us at a former-music-store-gone-coffeehouse later than expected, due to a snooze mishap. around 4pm, rachel, john and i drove out to the thurmers, where lance, amber, and our friend james would eventually meet us as well. the thurmers are like a second family to rachel, and it is easy to understand why. harvey and jane welcome rachel's various and sundry friends into their home effortlessly; children will [8] and marin [6 and 1/2] are boundless and passionate. i learned about marin's excitement for having dinner guests ["it's a fiesta!"], and from will i learned a great deal about dinosaurs. dinner was soon served; a time of friends, feasting, and conversation. kickoff was approaching, and lance and amber headed to their respective homes while harvey had self-imposed violin practice. the remainder of the dinner crew prepared for miami's first homecoming game to be played under lights. at halftime we crawled all the way up the home stands ["to the tippy top!"] to get the best view of my beloved marching band. will decided he wanted to stay for the second half with intisar, joy and i; so four remained at yager stadium while four went back home in the now persistent drizzle. will demanded that miami reach the thirty point threshold, and his demand was answered. the redhawks ended up squeaking by central florida, 43-7, which will happily relayed to Miami Team Early when we arrived back at the thurmer's.

sunday morning brought us to a presbyterian church service and a failed attempt at getting a toasted roll at shriver center. booooo. the afternoon proved to be an interesting excursion of cow hunting. no cows were harmed during our search; they were shot only with cameras. an abandoned barn was also caught in our crossfire, a barn filled with plenty of dangerous or possibly dangerous items and pitfalls to adults and children alike. but more importantly, it was a barn filled with an unknown past and infinite opportunities for the imagination to run wild. i felt strangely at home here, remembering the lazy summer days of childhood spent in similarly unsafe and perpetually intriguing structures. after an hour [or two?] of bone finding, mansion building, rock tossing and photo shooting, it was back to the thurmer's. at this point that i was originally planning on heading home... but i found that i could not bear to leave these children, these friends, and especially this road trip behind just yet. rachel convinced me to stay for supper; i went to my "napping room" to prepare for the three and a half hours i would be driving that evening. after dinner though, i knew it was time to leave. i packed up my now oddly empty car, and rachel and i shot the obligatory final road trip pictures. i hugged, i waved, i honked goodbye; i headed home.

after essentially living in a car with someone for over a week, the quietness of driving alone was actually quite unsettling. once out of cincinnati and its suburbs, on the dark stretches of highway, i found myself having to accept that the road trip was over. i made a few phone calls, but for the most part reflected on this amazing trip and the incredible people i have in my life. i was interrupted somewhere along the way by a blue mustang who apparently wanted to play cat-and-mouse. i was highly annoyed. after a few cycles of passing and being passed, we finally settled into a groove, with me in the lead and the mustang behind. i was still highly annoyed, both by its lights in every single mirror [how does that happen?] and by the knowledge that i was just the fall guy, the one in the lead to be picked off by any state trooper with a quota to fill. i made peace with the fact that this mustang might be in for the long haul on this drive; eventually it became sort of comforting, feeling that i was traveling "with" someone. two hours later i was nearing home; was this the mustang's destination as well? sure enough, ol' blue's exit was only a few miles before mine. i felt like i had to do something to commemorate our time together. weird. i gave a tap with my brake lights; would they even care? i'm still not sure if i was surprised when the mustang responded with a brief headlight flash. it was a surreal closure to the drive.

finally at home, i unloaded and unpacked necessities. i fell into bed, exhausted yet energized. thanks, rachel, for taking me on this crazy trip.

Posted on Sunday, October 31, 2004 at 01:22AM by Registered Commentermdog | Comments1 Comment

Reader Comments (1)

bravo! the tango with the blue mustang was the perfect ending. :)
Oct 31, 2004 at 06:21PM | Unregistered Commenterhappyhearn

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