I opened my eyes looking at everything for the last time. The ceiling the whiteness of it I knew every inch of it, the medallion with the chandelier in the middle, the modern teardrop shape of each piece of glass. The light gray walls contrasted the white,where the pictures hung now an empty space. Am I really doing this? If I don’t change my life nothing will change. I wanted to cry. Stop it, Avery, it’s done you have to go. The sun was up which made the room more stark, I knew it was time. I looked at my luggage lined up near the door. I pushed back the covers put my feet on the floor it was cool. I am on my own in this, come on Avery the sun is shining trying to encourage you to get moving. I looked around the room it was empty except for the bed. My clothes for the day hung on the closet door and the luggage I needed to load in the truck. I felt a little fearful. I stood up walked to the bathroom to shower and get ready for my journey. I was leaving today never to return to this house again. The ‘for sale’ sign was planted in the lawn. Janice will be bringing people by soon. As I showered I started to cry. I will miss this house and the life I had here, but it wasn’t enough. I am going on a journey I can’t turn back now. I reached for the towel dried myself and my face. I wiped the mirror and looked at my face, where had the time gone? I remember a much younger face and brighter eyes. Time can change your whole outlook on life, time going to school, college, then graduate school, then my doctorate. More degrees to fill the void. I know so much about plant life. I could grow anything anywhere and I’m tired. I have no family to leave behind. I walked into the empty room slathered on my oils my perfume I put on my jeans, moccasins, and tee-shirt. My hair was a mess, so I pulled back the thick bush. I brushed it until it laid down. I pulled it back in a loose bun and pinned all the ends under then pulled some out for effect. It was neat and messy but out of the way, sort of how my life has been these past years. Earrings, bracelet watch, necklace, and ring I looked younger than I was from years of yoga, cardio and many things I’ve done to my frame to keep it fit. I went to the kitchen, my beautiful kitchen I created. Any woman would love to buy this house for the kitchen alone. I took months to create every feature in this house. Janice said it would sell in a heartbeat. I had left all the dishes for the new owners they matched the kitchen and if they didn’t they could get rid of them. I got the cereal milk a bowl and spoon, even the flatware was pretty I sat at my beautiful marble counter that was eight feet long with six cushioned chairs for the last time. I had many parties here, some friends wanted me to stay, some knew I’d made the right decision if I truly wasn’t happy here. This should have been the home I raised my family in and shared with my husband, fairy tale, never happened. I had just finished my breakfast, there was a knock Janice entered the house with a young couple mid-thirties maybe, this should be me ten years ago. None of my marriages lasted, neither did romances with men who couldn’t see past the exterior and knew nothing about me.
“Good morning Janice” I stood in the foyer I looked at the couple standing beside her.
“Morning Avery, these are the Goodwin’s come to look around,” she said. Avery looks so much younger than she is.
They’re perfect for this house, I shook their hands, “Hello, nice to meet you, this is a wonderful house, I hope you like it as much as I liked designing it. I have spent great years here. Janice, let them know about the dishes and the other things I have left, come in.” I turned to the Goodwin’s looked at the wife and said, “This is a great house made for a family there is a groundskeeper Bill he comes with the house he is paid up for a year. Janice, you have my cell, I must get going. Nice to have met you both.”
They smiled said it was nice to have met me too. They looked excited.
“Good luck Avery and you will hear from me soon, this is a wonderful house you have left it in good hands! she hugged me goodbye.
I went back to my room and began bringing my luggage to my new Range Rover I just bought. I had already said goodbye to the house, I took one more look around the bathroom, dressing room and closet to see if I left anything. I could hear Janice outside by the pool talking to the Goodwin’s. I smiled to myself and thought they look like they should live here. Janice told me they had two children, who knows I have to go. I stood outside the front door looking around, goodbye Georgia.
I got in the truck checked my mirrors and drove off the driveway for the last time. I looked back at the house as I drove away it was so pretty, all the flowers were blooming the lawn was so green and the trees so tall and full. Well, it’s not mine anymore. I headed to the interstate. I stopped at a convenience store to stock up on drinks and snacks I put them in the cooler I had on the floor of the backseat. I didn’t want to make too many stops. I just wanted to drive and only stop for restrooms, hot coffee hot food. I wanted to see how far I could go before I had to stop at a hotel to sleep. I didn’t know what I could do on the road time-wise because I hadn’t done it in so long. I had a three fifty-seven magnum and a stun gun just in case. Women traveling alone can’t be too careful there are some really crazy people in this world. I didn’t have a real destination I was just traveling on the open interstate.
I wanted to do this all my life and life kept getting in the way or I kept getting in the way.
I thought about my first road trip, going to visit my parents in Cape May they had a summer place there. I drove from New York to the Jersey shore by myself. I was scared to death. I was nineteen on vacation from Columbia and wanted to get out of the city. I had fun, my parents were glad I made it in one piece. I knew this was going to be an adventure. I was so tired of the conventional way of living. I never had any children. Now, I can do this, finally, it’s a reality, smiling to myself.
Everyone thought I was nuts, all the questions I had no answers to. Michael who wanted me to stay was not what I wanted either. I want the open road and new surroundings. It is never too late to re-invent your life. The tears welled up I held them back. I'm alone now on the road it reminded me of some novel I read decades ago. I didn’t know what I was doing I was just doing it! I hope everything will work out somehow. I didn’t want to be tied down anymore to things. The voice I heard said go, time for a change, it kept reverberating in my head night and day. I am older now, it took me so long to start my road journey, Lord, keep me safe out here.
The Range Rover had the smell of newness the seats were soft and high. I fought back those tears and kept driving, my way of thumbing myself through the states. I was so good in my professional life anything I aspired to be I became that was easy it was my personal life that never quite lived up to my professional life. Having it all was a myth at least it was in my life. I wanted to move on. My two ex-husbands and no children-that would have changed everything if I’d had some.
My hands got used to the steering wheel after eight hours of driving the sun was setting. I put on my sunglasses and kept driving. Stopping for the restroom and some coffee it was full. I had to park a little ways from the building. I had the gun and stun gun very close.
“Hey, pretty lady” a man with a full beard and ponytail stared at me as I walked by.
“How are you,” I said and kept walking, my hand inside my purse on my stun gun. I got to the door, man, was it full! There were lines for everything! I walked up to the Cinnabon line and looked around, what are all these people doing on the road it was so strange. Maybe I just wasn’t used to stopping on the interstate. Its summer kids are out of school, families on vacation. A man was looking at me. I made eye contact he smiled, not bad looking but young I looked away. Avery, you are not interested in a guy at a truck stop really, just taking in the people. A cute little child was crying her mom picked her up she smiled at me too as she rested her head on her mom’s shoulder I smiled back. Adorable child, wish I had one to rest their head on my shoulder. Finally, I ordered coffee and a muffin and went back outside to sit on one of the benches.