It was a major trip, a major moment in his young life, a BIG DECISION. He was going off to start his flight training, and then, if it worked out, begin living his dream life as a commercial aircraft pilot. An unexpected bonus was that he had a girlfriend. He was a good guy, but had never defined his life through love and relationships, except those he had with his family. He knew, from talking with others, and posts and articles read on the web, he had a good family. All loved one another. Sure, there were problems, and they argued, but none of them were killers, addicts, or criminals. All of them were pretty smart. He felt like he was the dumbest. They mostly argued over politics. He and his father were more conservative than his mother and sisters. A liberal like his sisters, but not as liberal, his girlfriend easily plugged into this familial unit. They’d exchanged vows of love, and when he’d been accepted into the flight training school in Texas, she worked it into her plans so she could go with him, and continue her college education.
His planned departure was just nine days away, which was impossibly long. He felt like a kid again, waiting for Christmas morning, so he could open his presents. That was a minimalist impression, because he had all those other activities to take care of to move down there, possessions to cull and purge, good-byes to be said, an apartment to clean, a truck to pack up, and then the long drive. Two thousand plus miles, the drive would take twenty-nine hours. They were diverting to New Mexico for a two-day visit with her father, a Santa Fe artist, and then go on to Austin, Texas.
Then, then, it was suddenly just two days away, and, Jesus, he was frantic with everything that had to be done in that short period. It seemed like every little fucking thing was going wrong. His girlfriend thought she might be pregnant. He couldn’t sleep over that possibility. She’d told him without getting a kit first. Why she’d done it like that was beyond him. She said that she wanted them to do it together because she was scared, and it wasn’t something she should go through by herself. First thing when they could, they went to the stores for an EPT. It was a relief when she came up as not pregnant, but now, there was the worry about why her period was late. He loved her, and he worried about her, but he had plans and dreams, and he worried about them.
Her period began. It was late, and heavier than usual, so there wasn’t a lot of relief. She cramped with pain, and didn’t sleep with worry. Then it was the day to move, to begin the drive. Everything was miraculously done. After saying good-byes to friends, professors, neighbors and co-workers, he looked around his adopted town and said emotional farewells in his mind to the streets, trees, and buildings, as he thought about everything that had happened here. He’d met his girlfriend here. He wondered if he would ever return.
Funny, in the days leading up to his departure, it had first been impossibly slow. Every minute felt like an hour, and every day seemed like a month. Then, time had surged, accelerating like a beam of light. Every minute seemed like a nano, every hour was a second. Days? Forget it; days no longer existed.
But he’d survived the time surge. He’d survived it all. Now it was time to go. Looking down the road, he thought he could see his future, like the Emerald City from the “Wizard of Oz,” out there awaiting his arrival.
He just had to get there.