She was heartbroken. In a naive and sincere way. The semester was over and it was time to say goodbye. To Some, goodbye forever. To some, so long until we meet again. Wrought with emotion and the bittersweet joy of camaraderie. I haven’t seen it from her before. The one who has been aloof and above youthful frivolity. It was honest and raw and this was overwhelming to her. The last month in the company of strangers,  strangers became kindred spirits. Some from exotic places in south America and  small Mississippi towns named after Hungarian revolutionaries. These souls of disperate cultures connected , meeting as strangers and now parting as beloved friends.  Her life was changed by the experience. I can see it and feel it. It was worth 6 college hours but the education is priceless. Her life is full of promise and grand designs.

She was brokenhearted. In a melancholy and resigned way. The old woman desperate to maintain a connection to family long passed and family long disengaged. She has cancer and a broken wrist. She is both bitter and vulnerable at the same time. Her oldest daughter and that daughters’ youngest son conspire to steal from her. She knows they steal from her but she is too ashamed to talk about it. What modest success fate has blessed her with is often unnoticed. It seems each day she drags emotional trauma behind her like a plow.  We ride for 6 hours, mostly in silence. We meet 18 years ago when I was the new boyfriend to her youngest daughter. Today I part as her only living son. Her reality is tragic from her experiences. I can see it and I can feel it. Her life is difficult and joyless.

And there; In the gap between past and future, I swap travel partners.

“Life is made up of meetings and partings. That is the way of it.” –Kermit the Frog, possibly via Charles Dickens

we our happy clan

heaven is a ski day