A lonely mother, a loving son.. I loaded my laptop my back pack and a small suitcase into the backseat of my crew cab Tundra and walked back into the house. My wife Jenny was busy packing a lunch for me into a Tupperware container and had pulled a couple of energy drinks for the road. I was getting ready for a two week road trip to help my mother settle my grandmother’s estate in Sacramento, California.
My grandmother had died almost a year ago, and the estate was finally being settled. Her house had been sold but there were family items that were saved for my mother, which were currently in storage. There were items of sentimental values and some family heirloom kind of things which was one of the reasons I was going. I have a truck and I am the only child of my parents. I also work as an insurance adjuster so I can do most of my work online and by cell phone, meaning I could take a two week trip and still stay gainfully employed.
I’m 27 years old and Jenny and I have been married for a little over three years. Jenny works at the bank and we have not started a family yet so, it’s just the two of us. So far, it’s a good life. We bought a small starter home, in a middle class neighborhood soon after we got married and, until children come along; we will be very comfortable living there. But, since Jenny and I live in Indianapolis and my mother and father live just outside St Louis, I could see several days of driving ahead.
I gave one last look around to see if I had forgotten anything and then hugged Jenny and gave her a kiss goodbye.
“Wish I didn’t have to go,” I said honestly.
“It’s family. You really have no choice, and don’t worry, I’ll be fine. Call me every day though,” she smiled.
One last kiss and I headed out the door, climbed into my truck and backed out of the drive. I aimed the Tundra towards the interstate and settled in for the long drive. Four maybe five hours to my parent’s home, most of it expressway, which is an efficient but a boring way to travel. This was the first time I had been separated from Jenny since we had gotten married, and if fact was a nice change. My truck has satellite radio so I was able to stay connected to the world, at least as far as the news was concerned.
The miles actually passed more quickly than I had thought and before I thought it possible I saw the Gateway Arch rising from the horizon. I had spent the last few hours lost in thought about my father and mother, an unlikely couple at best. They were married when mom was 17 and I was born a year later. My father is 20 years older than her. No one ever said, but my mother’s father died when she was just 15 and it made a terrible impact on her.
My mother is barely five feet tall and does not weigh more than a hundred pounds soaking wet. She always wore her light brown hair short and although she usually had a smile, she was not loud or boisterous, but more refined and genteel. My father, I always thought of as colorless and boring. An accountant for years, he had no interest in sports and never came to see me participate as a bench player in high school basket or in the track meets, where I was just average. He was maybe six foot tall and not thin but not fat, average would describe his appearance. We were never really close.