Some mornings, the weight pressed down on me before I even opened my eyes and the ache of my bones foretold of a journey.
“Hell no,” was the first thought, “too much to do right now down at Baylor’s—gotta earn the extra cash while summer’s in full swing here. No distractions.”
Opened my eyes and yes, I was pinned to the pillow. A distraction. I was leaving here, going down to pick up the girl I left and make a relationship happen, mending what my daughter called broken—just as Robyn suggested for years.
This day the trip began. I tried to talk myself out of it, even as I climbed from bed and threw open the dresser drawers. She might have missed her plane. She might have decided I’m as worthless as I’ve felt all these years, and tell me she’s coming just to let me be the one stuck waiting for a change.
“Robyn,” I called out to the empty house. That feeling of emptiness—she’d gone to hike in the foothills of the Sangres. When she returned, I’d already be gone. Only I was surprised by the magnetic draw of the past. Two days earlier she’d said,
“Joe, you’re going to have to set things right,” when she caught me staring at the crumpled letter Iris sent.
I had to go. I left the dog, though he raced out to the truck bed.
“No King,” I told him, “Not this time. Stay here and watch our girl today.”
Even the dog was less surprised than me. He turned to go without looking back, which I’d never manage. The note for Robyn left behind, the key turned in the ignition and I realized I was in migration.
“Robyn,” I called out the window one more time. Scanning the mountains that comprise our horizon, I didn’t expect to see her but was disappointed anyway.
I slipped the truck in gear and felt the dust and rocks spit up behind in the distance. Robyn remained lost in the New Mexico landscape…and I was a rock thrown from the mountain by an invisible hand, flying from silence to silence to make it up to my children, a thin bird of the air.