Broken Down, Back on the Road

Before dawn, a crescent moon greets me silently through my kitchen window, hanging low in the sky, with glittering Venus and Jupiter. I stand there for a moment, imprinting that soundless beauty in my mind, like a talisman I might carry through the day. I leave in the dark, listening to VPR and watching the car’s thermometer dip down, down, as I drive up through the Woodbury Gulf. 14 below zero.

Not all that much later, I’m out of my car in Waterbury, pouring coolant into my overheating car, the water pump shot. It’s so cold the air is misty. I limp along into Waterbury, where I cluster with the other folks in the waiting room, drinking terrible K-cup coffee.

I’m nosy—I completely own up to this—as I “overlook” the woman’s laptop beside me as she books a hotel room in Charlotte. She wears enviably warm and stylish black leather boots. Beside me, I realize a man is somewhat surreptitiously scrutinizing my notebook, but I’m darned sure he can’t read my bad handwriting. Heck, I can hardly read it, and I’m the author. His phone rings, and I actually wonder if he’s speaking Greek. So much for my knowledge of other languages.

It’s that kind of day. By 11:30am, I’m back on the Interstate again—traffic is oddly light at that time—but the day seems basically shot. How much has already happened, and how much more lies ahead.

There’s the moon and those heavenly bodies, though. How much paler the day would have been, without those beauties.

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While I’m at work, the kids send me a photo of their cat’s displeasure with their afternoon snack.