I drove toward the north artery of I-95 and contemplated the strangeness of being duty-free. It was three weeks, five days and eight hours since Charles died. He had the Cadillac detailed a week before his death so it smelled of new car spray and clean leather though it was still saturated with his kind of order. The old order changes, I quoted to myself; it yields.
Changes, because Charles died horribly with disorderly screams. I wonder if he’d reversed his decision about letting me leave for a homemaker’s sabbatical, would he still be alive? I shook my head, clearing it. There was no point in theorizing.
Like some women, the thought of leaving home had blinked on and off in my mind like lights on a carnival ride. It seemed to be safe but was fraught with danger; delicious thoughts to board but anxiety keeping me grounded.
I postponed my departure for one reason or another until tomorrow or next month or next year. So the years went by, up and down, up and down, around and around, accompanied by a calliope’s music, strange, pulsating, jumping-jack music and my reaching out, leaning forward to follow that music but never quite leaping on the colorful carousel.
Eventually I began to understand the consequences of not leaving home. I saw the rest of my life stretching before me and I hiding within it, hermit-like and dressed in rags of loneliness. I heard the silence around me as I looked for something to cover up the emptiness within. I chose alcohol.
It was then Emily appeared and repeated in cajoling words that something was out there waiting for me. It gave me enough courage so that I did what I did and thought what I thought and ended up in a Cadillac heading for Sunny California. I heard her voice quote a passage.
“Sin is not what is usually thought to be: it is not to steal and tell lies. Sin is one person walking brutally over the life of another and being quite oblivious to the wounds left behind.” Emily told me to memorize that.