Near the end of the last century — which really wasn’t all that long ago — my then-boyfriend and I spent a lot of time driving around the country. We were so young, and time seemed like an endless well we might draw from forever.
The other night, driving to the airport in the descending dusk, I remembered blood-red sunsets as we made our way across the midwest.
I think of the decades of my pre-children life as two-dimensional, although I know that’s not true. But when I became a mother, my own life grew, too, in ways I had never imagined.
In Burlington, I looked for a cup of coffee, but in that end of the city nothing was open but a Shell station where I saw a man bent over, mopping the floor. I stood in the new spring warmth and didn’t go in.
At the airport, two taxi drivers were laughing outside, talking in an accent I couldn’t recognize. Inside, it was just myself for a while, leaning against a wall and reading, and then slowly the airport filled up. Neighbors unexpectedly met each other, and I heard the update about a maple tree, blown over in a recent thunderstorm.
Then from that infinite night sky, my two daughters appeared, one tanned and one sunburnt, bursting with stories of their journey.
The only journey is the one within.