Today I’m sharing a several-part series of writings chronicling the beginning of our leukemia journey. It doesn’t end, but it has gotten easier for the most part.
We arrived at our apartment with an empty moving truck. Though we had left the place only a week ago, my memory of its filth had already diminished. We were here to load the truck and begin our journey North the next morning. We’d already packed before we left. Though my mom disagreed. When she surveyed the roach-infested landscape she had to excuse herself onto the porch. The humidity slid down her face and her breath quickened as anxiety pulsed through her veins.
Unfazed, we continued loading the truck with our friends. Load after load of recycled boxes. Labels of contents long since gone haphazardly colored over with a fat Magic Marker. The tape on the bottom pulled away from the soften cardboard and our belongings peeked out at the seams.
Day turned to night and our march continued up the inclined ramp into the filling truck. Its Tetris-ed landscape dared us to make a wrong move. Bugs hissed in the floodlights of the building reminding us that time was almost out.
Finally the last piece was placed and the door pulled down. A lock was placed on the truck and our life in Texas was no more. We were headed North.
The trip was arduous. Half of the time was spent navigating our tiny coupe up the Interstate. The songs on the radio sometimes drowning out our cat’s pitiful moans, and sometimes the cat’s cries drowned out the radio. The other half was spent riding high in shotgun as my mom maneuvered the truck.
My thoughts were everywhere. How was the surgery going on Eric’s dad? Would I finally get to work in the industry I studied—Fashion Design? Will that cat please shut up? Only 200 more miles to drive today.
On the shift just after lunch, as I tailed the moving truck in our tiny plastic car, I felt it. I knew something wasn’t right. I slowed down a bit turned the radio off to see if I could figure out. Even the cat was silent. Nothing. I sped up again and knew something wasn’t right.
Again I slowed down. I stared at the gauges, nothing looked problematic. Then, in the rearview mirror, I saw it. A cyclic waving was coming from the left rear tire. The tread was peeling off. I pulled off onto the shoulder. And watched the moving van disappear in the distance. I felt forgotten, lost, alone. I got out and surveyed the damage, while dialing my cell phone.
They still didn’t know I wasn’t behind them.
“Hi. Um, well it appears the tread is coming off one of my tires?”
“The tread, it. Well it is peeling off.”
“We’re pulling over. Can you drive up to us?”
“Um, I suppose.”
I got back in the car. And drove slowly eventually seeing the van appear on the horizon. Thankfully we had a donut in the truck and our destination wasn’t that far away.