Of course, baby, of course I remember when we first fell deeply in love. It all started in March of '97. I walked out of my morning lifeguarding shift, hopped into my high school boyfriend's Honda Civic, and hit the road. We spent the next three months livin' it up, Road Tripp, just you and I, my sweet. Well, and the high school boyfriend, but he was short-lived after that; we parted at the end of that very trip, whereas you and I came back together again and again as the years passed by in a blur like the view from the passenger side window. I pored over road maps and atlases like a student with a textbook and a test the next day (oh, the heady romance of the days before mapquest! Remember that time we traveled to the southernmost tip of New Jersey, driving all day through smokestacks and graffiti, only to find that the "bridge" to Delaware was built by my baby sister, and made entirely of magic marker on the map? I knew that would be funny someday, and look! Now it is!).
I ate road food until I gained 30 pounds and couldn't fit into any of the shorts I brought with me after March turned to April, May and then June. It's okay, Road Tripp, I forgive you. It was just another excuse to shop at thrift stores for bigger clothing, cuddlebug, and I needed to shop at thrift stores anyway, after spending all my money with you. Well, on you. You were never a cheap date, dear.
But then there was that time in Virginia, lost in the woods, when I happened upon a lake, and looking out over the glistening water, vowed to live the rest of my life in three month increments, never repeating what I had done the three months before. It seemed like a good idea at the time, sweetpea, but such is the folly of youth, and the madness of amore. I can't keep up with you any longer, love. I'm getting older, and I guess it's true what they say: we settle.
Settle in, and settle down, and for some reason the backseat of the station wagon just wasn't as comfortable this last time, pulled off on the side of the road, somewhere in a rural Louisiana truckstop, infant nursing or sleeping on my exposed chest, feet resting on the carseat and husband passed out in the driver's seat, leeaanned back, with his mind on his money and his money on his mind. Except I'm pretty sure a part of that money on his mind -- a subcategory, if you will -- was pondering both the price of gas and the state of the current economy; let's not underestimate the man's intelligence, he may well have entertained a fleeting analysis of peak oil; we'll never know. The point is, Road Tripp, I could tell, even then, that things were beginning to go south between us. And I'm so sorry, sweetheart, but I don't mean that literally.
Those last miserable hours driving home, between Buffalo and Syracuse, where I balanced my body weight on bags of luggage and attempted to twist my breasts into some brand new shape that allowed for backseat breastfeeding while keeping the child enclosed in the infant carseat? Sugar, those were simply nails in the coffin of our long-dying relationship, at that point. And then when the house began to demand those same dollars for basic maintenance that you would require for your own existence, well, there's only so much I can do with a dollar, and keeping my roof from leaking every day into the dining room simply must take precedence over our sweet celebration of the beauty of our nation.
Baby, it's me, not you. But it's over. I've got four walls, a good job, a toddler, and a comfortable bed. Revel in your youth, Road Tripp. Go on without me. Perhaps we'll meet again someday, in a Winnebago somewhere, where knee braces are an everyday occurrence, and those day-of-the-week pill containers are a spot of poetry in an otherwise chaotic world. I'll never forget you, try though I might sometimes, but my feet are planted firmly now, and we can't meet anymore in the middle of the night; truck stop coffee just ain't what it used to be. Or maybe it's just me. I'm old; I'm tired. I'm happy where I am. R.I.P. Road Tripp Luv. You may be gone, darlin', but you'll never be forgotten.