Each morning, as so many of us do, I drive to my place of business. Luckily, my daily commute is almost exclusively on the hilly, winding back roads of southeastern Connecticut. I get to see New England’s landscape at it’s most expressive. The white, black, blue and silver of winter, the sun glistening through nature’s tinsel. The green warmth of Spring’s rebirth, Summer’s heat cracking the black ribbon of road I navigate, and finally, the calm of fall before the return of Winter’s storm.
Again, like most of us, some days I’m early, taking the time to enjoy the sights and sounds. And some days I’m late, driving faster than I should, hoping none of God’s creatures decide to take that final deadly dash.
Yet, it is not of these daily joys and sorrows that I take fingers to keyboard to tell you about.
Recently, I’m not sure when exactly, I first noticed her. It could have been a Monday, or Wednesday, or any day that the green Toyota first passed in the opposite direction. It was between a small fair ground and the turn off to the State park, two sections of winding road joined by a short straightaway.
What first caught my eye was the unusual colour of the car. Not so unusual that I hadn’t seen it’s like before, but none-the-less, I noticed it. The car with the dark haired, sunglassed female frame at the wheel. She, like me drove alone, sometimes she, like me would be singing along with the radio, other days, her face seemed sad, but usually her look was that of contentedness. A days work done before returning home…to what? Where? More importantly (for me anyway) to who, or is it whom?
Did she live in or near the town where I worked? Did she work in or near the town where I lived? Was she married, were there children? These and other thoughts ran through my imagination for a few minutes each day, then it would be time to focus on something else.
It may have been more of my imagination (or my inflated ego) but as the days and weeks passed, this dark haired object of my daydreams seemed to smile at me as our paths intertwined. Eventually I came to think she might be…but no it couldn’t be…could it?
Years ago I had worked in a small country Inn as a bartender, another in a long line of jobs, professions, on what I’d hoped would lead to…I still don’t know what? Late one afternoon, as I was walking through the lobby of the Inn, my boss was interviewing a young lady, no more than college age. Hire her, I nearly said out loud. Later, in private with my boss, I would say it out loud, and she was hired.
She started the next week as a waitress and we became fast friends, good friends, almost instant old friends. Unfortunately, she had a boyfriend, who would become a fiance. I also, took comfort in the arms of another.
Eventually, she was offered a management position, as was I. She, because that is what her college degree dictated, me because I had grown weary of tending bar, plus, I wanted to be closer to her. We went to meetings, sitting across from each other at the twelve person table. I’d roll my eyes and make funny faces that only she (hopefully only) could see to break the monotony and make her laugh (or try not to). In response, she would kick me under the table.
At the time I agonized (once again) about always seeming to find the right woman at a time when she was already involved, or I was, or both. Yet I didn’t let it get in the way of our friendship. She seemed seemed happy and I did the Sir Galahad thing and let it go, again.
So here I I am, 10 or 12 years later, driving to work waiting to see another long lost love for all of four or five seconds and wonder what might have been.
The first day the dark haired girl in the green Toyota didn’t drive by was a Friday in April, the month of both our births. I though she probably had taken a long weekend. On Monday I chalked it up to the same thing. By the next Monday it had to be a full blown vacation.
Thinking she may have found a new, shorter route, I tried several, a different one each day, then back to the old one the third day. Finally it was apparent that she was gone, again.
So now I drive each day admiring this picturesque part of the world. the black, white, green, brown and yellow, but I don’t expect to see her anymore. Perhaps it’s just as well, it probably wasn’t her anyway. Besides, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, just on the other side of the little fairground, I pass a red Buick with a pretty blonde, who looks vaguely familiar, maybe, just maybe…..