The U-Haul flew down the highway bridge, crossing the Mississippi River and turning northeast once I entered Arkansas. I checked the rear view mirror to make sure the jaguar was still securely attached to its trailer behind the van. Satisfied that it was, I turned my attention back to the drive.
Atlanta was hundreds of miles away and my future employment was hundreds of miles and several states ahead. I could have flown and gotten there much more quickly, but it hit me while making the reservations that I really hadn't wanted to fly. Menial labour was something I tended to avoid like the plague, but there was something final about packing my possessions, loading them and making the long drive myself.
And Lord knows I needed final. I had been given a chance to put the whole miserable episode behind me and start afresh. I didn't intend to waste this chance -- but I needed time to get my head together.
So I caught myself dwelling on the past again -- and finding myself becoming miserable again. So I turned on the radio and turned it up to try to drown my thoughts. I was listening to "Tommy", which a station in Little Rock was playing in its entirety, when one of the song's lyrics reached through the speakers and grabbed my heart so hard it made me gasp.
"I'm free --
I'm free --
And freedom tastes of reality..."
This -- this leaving one city, one life for another -- felt right. Felt like freedom.
Felt like waking up to reality after a long nightmare.
After the song ended, I wondered what that coolness on my face was. I reached a hand to my cheek and -- to my surprise -- felt tears.
I didn't understand. I was just going to another job. Why was it affecting me so?
Looking back -- I think my subconscious knew that this would not be just another job. I would be the final link in the sevenfold chain of brotherhood that made up our team.
I wasn't just going to another job.
I was coming home.
Return to The Magnificent Seven page
Return to The Realm