Depending on traffic, it was about a two hour drive.
Depending on who was driving, it could be an hour and a half.
If She was driving, odds were He would get annoyed about something. Whether it be she was in the wrong lane, She was driving too fast, She was driving too slow.
Let’s face it. She never drove too slow.
I think back then, he enjoyed driving. It was relaxing to him. He enjoyed the windows being down, listening to anything from Bob Dylan to Ac/Dc. Music to him may have distracted him from having to drop Sister and I off.
There were times when She would drive, and once Stevie Nicks came on, she would break out in song.
“Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song
Sounds like she’s singing”
What was always a guarantee, what you could set your watch to. My sister and I would always argue.
In my defense, it was a two hour drive! What else were we suppose to do? Also, if she did not breathe so loudly, and breathe ON me, a lot of these fights would had never happened.
One time, He got so mad because Sister and I were fighting.
“Your touching me!”
“You’re breathing on me!”
“God, you are so loud!”
“God, you need to brush your teeth!”
And then, he pulled the car over on the side of the road. By my estimation, this was some hick town somewhere between Va Beach, Va and Colonial Heights, Va.
I do not remember His exact words. What I do remember is he took a pillow and put it between us. Even back then, as a little girl, I remember thinking “Ummm, okay, a pillow between us will solve it all.”
I was a smart ass. I may not have spoken the words out loud, but I was thinking it.
Except, Sister and I were so shocked that he actually pulled the car over on the side of the road in some hick town, we knew we could not mess up again.
We were never afraid of Them.
We also never wanted to disappoint Them.
I knew I was already a disappointment at Home, I did not want it to carry over.
Whenever I saw “Charlotte’s Hill” I knew it would not be that much longer before everything would change.
I loved Charlotte’s Hill. I loved the times when we were able to see the little pigs playing out in the mud.
There was one time when over the course of a month or so, She would read “Charlotte’s Web” to us on the drive back to Home. I loved that story.
Yet, I knew as soon as we passed “Charlotte’s Hill” and the pigs, and the peanut factory, I knew I did not have much time.
Saying good-bye was always hard. Even if it was only saying good-bye for two weeks. As a little girl, two weeks seems like a lifetime.
I was never allowed to cry.
I knew I was going to get yelled at.
I never understood why.
Except, now, many many years later. I kind of do.
Home was a bad place for Her. She never knew how to handle her own demons. She was unhappy and did not know how to be happy.
I know this now.
I did not know it back then.
She has told me she was sorry. Many times over the past three years she has told me she was sorry. Just a few months ago, she again, told me how sorry she was.
That is all I ever wanted, all I ever needed.
I needed to know it was not me.
I needed to know, to hear from Her that it was not me. I needed to hear from Her that maybe she was a little hard on me.
And, she has done that.
So, if I were to ever see Charlotte’s Hill again, I know I will not have the same feelings of sadness, despair, worthlessness. I know that time has literally healed all wounds.
My memories of the two hour drive will now be filled with, well, filled with something different.
Back then, when I was a little girl, if I had had a magic mirror that was able to tell me “It is not you, it is Her, one day down the road you will understand that, one day down the road you will see your growth and strength.”
I never had that magic mirror, but that is okay, because no one ever does.
I am just glad, that after all these years, I was able to hear,
“I am sorry, I was not a good mother.”