The morning is so rich in sunshine, so blue with white paintball
clouds it could make you cry. You drive the speed limit on these back
roads. The spring thaws have made pie crust of pavement, throwing up
stones that might've taken centuries to work their way up to the
surface from the hellfire of earth's core. The drive into the city is
a gracious transition from mourning doves and pancakes into the
whipped creamed coffees and seventeen-storied steel buildings of the
corporate world. It's only a half-hour ride.
You would have made it without seeing her if you'd left just a few
minutes earlier. The raw angular stride of bone working in the perfect
rhythm and balance of a show dog. Blue jeans and pink sweatshirt,
running shoes -- though not Nike's or New Balance, surely -- and a dark
brown ponytail swinging with each measured step. As you draw up behind
her she stops, turns, sticks out her thumb.
"Where are you headed?" you ask her, but she's already settled into
the seat. It's not going to matter immediately, so you pull off the
shoulder back onto the road.
Any other day, maybe without last night's fight with your wife still
shrilling around in your brain. Or if you'd felt more confident about
the ten a.m. presentation to the board, as if your head wasn't being
served up like John The Baptist's. Or maybe if the sky weren't so
brilliantly blue, well, maybe you wouldn't have gotten onto the
highway and driven two hundred miles before stopping.