The Uphill Slide

There is always something.

The Last Day


We celebrate on this day as if at the stroke of midnight, like Cinderella, our life will change completely. But our change will be in reverse of hers; at midnight we will become the princess or prince meeting our perfect partner instead of going back to our old lives under the thumb of some wicked stepmother.

On this night we wish each other health, wealth and happiness. Does anyone get it all? Should you have it all? Why not just wish for one of those; maybe you should share. In fact, I wish my husband health, my daughter wealth and my son happiness. There! I’ve split up the pie of perfection. It’s not that I do not wish all the others for them; that would be the sweetener. I’ve wished for them what I think each one needs most now. What’s left for me? I told my therapist I had a mind, body and soul full of anger. She asked, “What can you do with that?”

I thought for a moment and said, “Anything I want.”

I was angry at my daughter last night. When she came home, I hit the road. Have you ever just started driving with no destination? I drove downtown. It is baffling to me that I ever feared driving in Pittsburgh. Maybe it was never the big city (that really isn’t big at all) or the traffic and drivers that scared me, but not knowing which turn to take or which road to travel. That was a long time ago; now I like to take wrong turns and drive unfamiliar roads never knowing where I will end up. There is no fear of Pittsburgh now, it is too familiar. It’s time to move on.

Last night I left Pittsburgh driving on familiar roads. I knew where I was headed. I realized after driving for over an hour that I didn’t have the radio on; but it wasn’t silent in that car. I was having conversations with myself. That is what I have done for a long time. Some of my best conversations have been with me. I am always willing to talk to me when others won’t. I dish up both sides of the conversation. Sometimes I even reach resolution. I’ve kept myself company for a long time now.

Yesterday evening my son called after getting home from work; we were on the phone for probably 30 minutes or more without saying much of anything. There were silences. I think there was just a yearning for connection between people. It is inexplicable that sometimes silence between two people who know each other well can be comforting and other times quite painful. I think it is the unvoiced conversations in your head that makes silence painful.

I have wished those three things for my family and hope that each one gets some of the rest too. What do I want? That drive on familiar dark roads with deer standing along the sides of the road kindly waiting for me to pass, led me to what I want. I want to be free. I want to abandon everything and all responsibilities to be free to go anywhere I want and be anyone I want. Do I need to be free to be anyone I want? No, I can do that; but it is as if I am magnetized pulled towards some strong far-away magnet.

My friend suggested I buy a travel trailer and just drive. She has witch friends who do that selling things along the way. There are flea markets and swap meets where I could set up a stand to make money. Maybe I should learn to make jewelry or make wind chimes from abandoned materials or ordinary household items. Or maybe I can make money writing a travel blog about places, people and things. I pooh-poohed her idea but she had planted a kernel in my head. I remembered the “Aliner” trailer Roy and I looked at before our big trip through the Canadian Rockies and the Pacific Northwest, unfortunately, missing our ‘Alaska or bust’ destination. I liked that little easily-unfolded trailer, but little is the reason Roy was not interested. At 6’5″ he demands comfort in all moving vehicles. But I hadn’t forgotten that trailer. It can even be pulled by a car. It could be left parked somewhere so a car could climb mountains without towing it along or pull into spaces our big trailer couldn’t. I am selling myself on this idea, and it isn’t taking a lot of selling. My friend planted a kernel that has begun to burst open and sprout.

I want to abandon all responsibilities and just come running when I’m needed and  feel like it. I want to be far away but just a phone call away. It sounds selfish, but I want it. I can’t do it yet. I have taken on responsibilities that need to be seen through to, I hope, success. I will stay for my daughter to gain wealth and understanding of wealth to give her independence. I mean wealth in the very general sense of economic independence for herself and son, not wealth to buy two homes and luxury cars and jewelry. She doesn’t need all that and shouldn’t have it now. I will stay to see through Jacob’s legal fight for appeal and what comes after. If he is successful in appeal, then I will be here for all the rest. Of course, if he is not successful in appeal; this will not be over. In reality, no matter what happens; this will never be over. But that doesn’t tie me to Pittsburgh. I can still be there for him without being here physically all the time.

Have you ever started driving with no destination? That’s what I wish for myself in 2017. Freedom to hit the road, freedom to be anything I want, freedom to share my heart and soul, freedom that I wish I had grabbed at 20 or 30. Maybe I’m being greedy and selfish. Maybe I don’t care.



  1. Wow barb. Thanks. Couldn’t have said it better my self.

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