Purple Mountains

I just got home from a flashbang roadtrip to see Nick’s college. We arrived late last night after a long drive, ate quickly, went to bed, and were up early for a seriously busy day of cheerful orientation today. It almost made me want to go back to college. Almost. Nick chatted all the way home in the car, even asked for advice. Man, I love road trips. I really do.

The whole thing reminded me just how young my son is. I forget that when he’s taciturn and hides in his room for too long. He’s still working on getting experience driving on an interstate. I tried telling him that he’d done well in driver’s ed three years ago, but then realized that it was probably only the third or fourth time he’d done it.

He did fine and I told him that by the time he’d driven that stretch of road for a year at his new college, he’d be an old hand at it.

“In the meantime, Mom…” he asked tentatively, “…um, could you stay awake while I drive?”

“Are you sure you need that, hon? You’re doing fine.”

“It would help,” he replied.

Yes, I forget how young he is.

He told me that he wanted to talk face-time about once a week when he leaves for school. That sounds great to me. It might add up to more time talking to him than I get in an average week with him now.

On the road, we talked about feminism, about girls, about classes, college, parties, friends, roadtrips, driving congested interstates, his dreams, our old dog Indiana, rotten apples, and about the view out the window. Sometimes, we didn’t even talk at all.

I talk too much. I talk to entertain people. I talk to make connections. I talk when I get nervous.

I love that there are two people in this world that I can be with and don’t have to talk to if I want to be quiet. That is a rare gift.

The mountains really were purple and majestic. The fields weren’t amber waves because they’d all been harvested, but they were cropped golden in some places and a new green in others. In one spot, it looked like a slash of gold, a smudge of purple, and an immense sky of gray-blue. I wanted, more than once, to stop and take a photo of the stark beauty of this world.

But we were on a mission to get home to cats who’d been partying by themselves overnight and Nick felt safer with my phone set to navigation mode. So, I let him rush me home.

Now, he’s back in his room with the door closed. But I feel a whole lot better about that than I did two days ago.

Thank you for listening, jules