Class Two Blog Challenge
I depart the plane, walking behind the young energetic attendant, an aspiring college student thankfully with a good physique. He easily maneuvers the wheelchair with my husband in it. The two guys talk and they bond over life and goals. The young man is from Arkansas and works full time.
I’m relieved that the attendant isn’t a 90 pound woman from Eritrea or Eastern Europe. *Johnny, my husband, was worried about the women attendant who pushed him in the Detroit airport. She had to lean into the ramps, almost parallel to the floor because pushing my 200 lb husband took all her strength.Johnny and I wonder how many little old ladies are working in American airports and why do they have them pushing grown men in wheelchairs? I feel bad because my lower back is a little weak and I can’t push him myself.
I only do airports when someone dies or is born.
I’m able to find our luggage quickly and get Johnny out of the wheelchair. He walks with a cane because of postpolio syndrome. Aside from being slow with a marked limp with some leaning to one side, you’d never know there was anything wrong. His big dark hands, broad shoulders and tender smile usually make me feel comforted-except when the scene is after a long-delayed funeral of my father. It’s all over with now. Both parents are gone. I’m a Boomer orphan. I’m exhausted, we’ve flown into the blasting desert heat and I just want to get home.
The shuttle takes us to the “Jackrabbit” section of the parking lot. I haul my big suitcase, and head to the car when I realize I’ve left my laptop on the shuttle. I run in a panic, gasping, sweating and catch the driver just in time. For some reason, he is rude and not helpful. He probably hates his job. But I’ve retrieved my computer, thank God.
We try to find our way out of the parking lot with the AC on full blast. I am in an altered state. The last formality is over. All the emotion, the expectation, the teeth-gritting, the stilted withholding of anger, the cliques and clicks and clucks of the people who have since become strangers (except for a few) are behind me. Frustration erupts as we miss our exit out of parking lot and get stuck in the roundabout traffic heading back towards the terminal. My eyes feel dried out and my scalp itches. Johnny is no help. He’s eternally in a football-watching laid back attitude that causes me to vibrate.
“Oh I thought that was our exit” he offers. Nothing else.
Water pours off me from the 104 degrees. I can’t see clearly from fatigue. Closer. Starbucks. The beautifully decorated entrance to the mall.
We make our way down past the housing developments with the cookie cutter driveways and perfect landscaping. The median in the road glistens with sand holding the erect phallic, and stickered saguaros. Tiny white flowers perch at the top like little hats on giants. A landscaped outdoor museum. Clean. Sparkly. Another right turn. I can feel the ground underneath the tires, now we’re on the dirt road. My muscles relax. My heart softens and I release the grip on the steering wheel. The surroundings are motionless. Horses stand like monuments in their stalls near corrals. Ranches are serene, well-tended, staid. The afternoon sun captures and holds the landscape in its absolute power. The tires crunch over the sandy road and the rippled washboard shakes the undercarriage of the vehicle. We pass another ranch and the walled pristine Santa Fe homes with their flat roofs and tiny windows, quiet and still as the desert is in the heat of the day.
The shade of willows and oleanders brush softly in my vision. The dirt road. An audible sigh. Another turn. Just a little longer. I can the see the house. The tiled roof looks pretty with its purple, gray and tan colors against the muted red outside. Almost there. At the final bend in the road my psyche quiets again. Home. The tall front door, the sun-blasted walkway to the front gleams. The pygmy palm tree looks fat. I glance at the outside of the living room bay windows-still there. Not grand, just homey. The mesquite tree at the edge of the driveway appears fuller, greener. It’s all there. The gate is latched, the yard is still. The neighborhood is quiet. The ironwood tree guards the side yard with its trunk lounging low on the earth, its gnarly branches, makes a perfect child’s hideway fort underneath. A place to sit and read.
As soon as we get inside the house smells familiar, like lavender and canvas.
I unzip the suitcase and grope for the box containing Dad’s ashes and unwrap the two Wal-Mart bags around it. I can tell it’s been opened. Somebody had read my hand written insert. “These are my father’s ashes.”
*not his real name
Copyright © 2014 by Susan E Rowland