Friday, November 27, 2009

Flooded, Part 2

I have driven alone to Miami quite a bit now.
Only once or twice before his death and now it is becoming a regular thing.
But there are still a lot of memories attached to the many trips down the turnpike with Roger.
And almost every time I do it, especially when alone, I cannot help but have memories flood me.

The first time I came with Roger was for his sister's birthday get together.
I was meeting his family for the first time too.
At least a preview of his family.
I met his mom and sister.
Some cousins.
A few aunts and uncles.
It was also the first time Roger told me he loved me.
As we pulled into his mom's driveway.
We had been fighting.
I was annoyed.
And I was annoyed that I was annoyed before meeting his family.
So he turned to me and said something he had said to me a hundred times before to make me smile: "You know I like you" in his sweet please-forgive-me voice.
I gave him the you-have-got-to-be-kidding-if-you-think-that-will-work-now look.
He tried again.
"You know I love you."
I smiled.
I had to smile.
I had told those three little words to him four months previously but insisted that he could not say it back to me just because.
But it had to be in the right moment.
That was the right moment.

Another time we hit a huge raccoon on the way down.
I was horrified.
It cost us $2500 in damage to the car upon our return.
Plus the cost of duct tape to make it the rest of the way down.

There were many pit stops along the way.
Usually at Fort Pierce, the half way point.
We would get snacks and something to drink.
Stretch our legs.
And once we got 50 brochures for various tourist attractions for our wedding guests' out of town bags.
It was a game to get the correct amount without looking like we were hoarders and without actually standing there counting.
Although we did return those that were over the fifty mark.
To be nice of course.

Another time we were coming back to Orlando on the turnpike.
Roger had eaten at one of his cousin's house right before we left.
Roger did not eat pork.
His cousins' food was flavored with pork.
We stopped at each service plaza along the way.
About every forty to sixty miles for the entire two hundred and fifty miles back home.
Not to mention some gas stations and pharmacies before and after getting on the turnpike.
I could not help and giggle each time we stopped.
"Umm, yeah. I gotta go."
Followed up with a "I feel better now" comment.

Roger also liked to talk on these trips.
And he would blame me for missing his exit or getting lost.
"Was that 869?"
"I dunno."
"Dammit, you made me miss it."
"How? By listening to you?"
"Yeah" as he would smile.

The times I did not come with him, he would call me.
We would talk for hours.
And sometimes a fight on the phone would lead to me not talking to him for hours.

Lots and lots of memories.
It is weird to make this drive alone.

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