A Few Weeks of Pain
—and After—September, 1991

It’s an early fall Carolina morning. There’s a chill in the air and the dew hangs heavy above the pond. With a disdainful glance, a houndog slowly raises his tired old body from the middle of the gravel road and lumbers to the side as I pass him, road-dust billowing behind my silver, Mazda pickup. I’m heading to my first day back to work.

Life, on the surface, has returned to normal.

This is rural North Carolina. Here a girl marries her high school boyfriend and moves into a trailer across the road from his mamma on land that has been divided and passed down for generations. And her children will likely not wander much further than a country road or two from her.

I have experienced a spark of envy on a few 4ths of July, or Labor Days, when driving by their houses, I see yards full of pick-up trucks (though they all surely could have walked) and family sitting under a shade tree, talking and laughing. Today I wonder, “Why did we all move so far from our home?” I miss my childhood—my extended family. I think about our family reunions, the security of life as a youth.

I don’t know what security feels like anymore. My world is not the world it was even a few short weeks ago. I’ve lost my strongest advocate and it makes me feel like a small boat whose rope to shore has been cut. I’m driving to work, but I’m slowly drifting out to sea.