Saturday, April 2, 2011

Time to Go

Chapter One

This was all too familiar and in the end there would be no winner. She’d pushed his buttons for the last time he decided. There was no more need to be angry or disappointed, no need for recriminations or sadness either. Done is just that done! He knew they would not sleep in this climate until midnight had come and gone but he also understood that was how it worked. They were both disappointed.

He was the long haired tattooed biker that she’d wanted to change from the onset. He wasn’t a boy scout or your average coat and tie Monday thru Friday sort of guy. He was a six foot two, a rock solid mountain of a man with ebony hair reaching past those wide shoulders. His eyes were large pools black as coal yet his skin; at least the parts that weren’t tattooed were very fair. In his mind he didn’t need a make over. He wasn’t trying to turn her into someone else. He accepted her; plastic values and all. As much as he hated her tears he knew they meant this was finally winding down and he could sleep. He also knew tomorrow was going to be a long day.

She left on time for work without a word not that it was surprising after last night. Sadly she didn’t understand that she would never have another opportunity to say anything ever again. Like always he called Grady, waking the old codger from his sleep. As he’d expected it was fine for him to store his stuff in the garage and move back into his old room again. He’d be there with the truck in an hour.

Packing had become an art. He’d moved a lot as a kid, part of a military family. Then the product of a divorced Mom that found running easier than planting roots. He never threw the boxes away because chasing down new ones was too much of a hassle. He brought them in from the garage. He laid the clothes on the bed some of those would go in the saddle bags or in that huge piece of luggage. He’d bought it for the bike so he could take her on runs with him. Too bad she’d hated every minute of it.

He packed the old family photo albums that he’d long ago acquired from his Mom. Placing them carefully in his memory box; at least that is what he’d called it as a kid. Stuff from high school pictures, a few trophies and ribbons were nestled together with his Letterman jacket. He didn’t have much really just an old Harley lamp, a couple of framed numbered riding posters that were now worth a buck or two. He filled one box with bathroom stuff. Next he filled his whore bag. That was how he referred to the black leather bag filled with toiletries.

Remembering the stuff behind the bar knowing he couldn’t leave any of it behind. He had a decanter of Wild Turkey that had never been opened that was forty years old. He collected rare and old liquors. Some of the bottles were hand blown glass, like his favorite with the glass agave plant inside. He had nearly twenty four bottles that had value or held a special memory reminding him of who had given it to him. He wrapped them in her favorite dish towels mostly because he knew it would piss her off.

In the garage he rolled his Craftsmen toolbox to the edge of the drive way. He hoped the old man was still strong enough to help him lift it. He'd certainly receive a smack for the mere mention of that Marc thought. Looking around there wasn’t much else just a couple boxes of bike stuff. He spied his sleeping bag but he would be strapping it to the faring so there was no need to pack it in a box. Then he packed tools in one side of the hard bags, jackets in the other. He packed the remainder of his clothes in the large suitcase that attached to the rear fender which only required a couple of bolts.

He could hear Grady’s old truck before he ever rounded the corner. He went inside to bring out a couple of boxes. He hugged the old man gripping him tightly. He looked concerned but not overly so. “You good kid?” he asked. “Yea, this is for the best. But I’m gonna head out for a while. You know to clear my head and get her out of my heart if that’s where she was. At the moment I can’t tell. I’ll be back in a couple of months”. There was still snow on the ground at this time of year in the little berg he lived in on the east coast of Massachusetts. He knew the weather wouldn’t be great but it was time to go and he had all the right gear to stay warm.

The two men loaded the heavy tool box in sections then filled the bed with the remaining boxes. Grady waited outside while Marc had one last look around. He spotted her favorite stationary on the desk. It was like her all pink and girlie. He grabbed a pen and wrote: “I don’t think I missed anything but if I did please get it to Grady. Too bad we didn’t work but we tried and let’s face it; it wasn’t good. I’ll be gone for awhile two three months I don’t really have a plan but you knew that. Take care girl I hope you find your boy scout, it just wasn’t me. By days end my number will be changed so don’t waste your time. Be good to your self, Marc”.

He locked the door and tossed the keys into her mailbox. He fired up the bike letting her warm up before rolling her onto the drive way. Then he pad locked the door behind him. Waving to Grady the truck pulled away from the curb. He followed behind knowing the way home by heart. Grady had taken him in at sixteen after he’d run away from home if that’s what you called the apartment filled with boxes that never managed to be unpacked. The old man fed him, counseled him and taught him about roots. Along the way he taught him everything there was to know about a Harley and most importantly he taught him that he would always have a home.

Back then Grady put him the kid in his guest room. Which back then was nothing more than a junk room with stuff stacked to the ceiling. He cleared it all out, bought furniture and turned it into a real bedroom. It was still his room he had things there. He had roots there, it was home. He put his things back onto the dresser and shelves they had vacated when he’d moved in with his dream girl. They were back now and something inside him told him they would remain there, it just all seemed to fit. It wasn’t like he hadn’t tried this before. He had and with the same result, women always wanted to change him. They wanted to buy him different clothes; cut his hair, cover his tattoos and change his diction. Of course it never happened. We are what and who we are and being accepted as such is all that most of us want.

The unpacking was finally complete, me and the old man needed some grub and maybe a beer or two. We headed for Rosie’s. Rose was a sassy late forty something spit fire who was sweet on ole Grady. She made the best breakfast for a hundred miles and the beer was cold as it could be. Grady fired up his new bagger. She was complete with every bell and whistle Harley could provide. After a lifetime of riding hard tail’s from one end of the country to the other the old man finally treated him self to something really comfortable. She was a rich sapphire blue with gray and silver old school pin stripping to set it off. She was a natural beauty.

I could tell by the way he was looking at me that he was worried not that he’d ever say so, that wasn’t his way. He never pushed which is why I love him so much. “Calm down old man” I said over my chorizo and eggs. “I’m fine and I’ll be a lot finer with a few hundred miles behind me and lots of road in front of me. I’m gonna stop by and see Donny in California. I want to see what the hell he’s up to out there on the west coast. No matter what I’ll be back before it’s time to go to Laconia or maybe we can hook up at Sturgis. You know I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Now eat your damn eggs and quit acting like a mother hen. I’ll be back before you know it”. Grady scrunched his eyebrows together but said nothing.

The AT&T store was next door. Marc had a new number in a little under twenty minutes. He sat with Grady texting it to everyone in his phone list excluding a few women whose numbers he now deleted. Rose watched the pair and knew instinctively that something was up. “Where you off to this time?” she asked as if she knew the scoop. “No place particular it’s just time to go”. I said knowing she understood.

She and the old man had been an item for close to twenty years. They had tried living together way back then but it ended badly. Somehow they regrouped and formed an understanding that has worked well for them both. They lived in separate houses yet they always vacationed together. Either would do anything for the other well accept live with them Marc thought. It was funny really but it worked and hell who was I to say. They understood one another and respected the others independence. Rose loved to ride with Grady and together they had traveled damn near everywhere.

Hugging them both at curbside always put a lump in my throat. I always look back one last time because hell you never know. I waived and they waived and then I settled in to the hum of her engine and the bite of the cold air nipping my ears and cheeks. In less than ten minutes I’d be on the interstate headed west. That was my goal stay heading south and west; ending up near the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. Or at least that is the plan if you can call it that. I passed a few other fearless riders hardy enough to brave the elements. A hand wave or the nod of a head from a fellow rider said it all.

The interstate beckoned I down shifted to make the turn then quickly accelerated climbing threw the gears. My heart was heavy but I knew from past experience that my load would lighten the farther away I rode. By the time I reached the coast she’d be nothing more than a memory and rightfully so I thought, rightfully so.

To be continued...