We didn’t leave for three days. Carolyn picked up Lily on Friday afternoon and Chris and I started the journey on Saturday. The Cayenne’s storage in the back was large enough for the suitcases, food for Snow, water, snacks, and the urn with Lillian’s ashes. I packed a copy of the will for Matthew, made sure I had medical insurance cards, and about $1000 in cash, just in case we ended up somewhere that didn’t take a credit card. I grabbed my phone charger, my laptop, and my prescription sunglasses.
We drove my car to Lillian’s house, made certain everything was locked and the refrigerator cleared out completely. I talked to Jeff Richardson, her neighbor, about watering the roses for the summer and keeping the grass cut. He said he would keep and eye on things plus he would start my car periodically to make sure the battery didn’t die. I gave him my cell phone number and told him to call me if anything happened.
When we got to Sante Fe, Matt would let us know what of Lillian’s personal items he wanted and I could ship things to him. Lillian generously provided all of us with gifts of her possessions years before she died, so likely there wasn’t much remaining that he would want.
We transferred our things from my CRV into the back of the Cayenne and Snow hopped into the back seat. At least one of us was eager to get started. I put her doggy bed on the back seat and she climbed in, walked in circles for a few minutes and finally settled down for the 14,000 mile journey.
The trip started badly. Chris backed the car into Lillian’s mail box. He muttered under his breath while he got out to survey the damage. The mailbox lay on its side, half in the road and half on Lillian’s property. “It’s not really a problem,” I said. “Lillian doesn’t need it.”
“Real funny, Anne.”
“She could have had her mail forwarded to Santa Fe. That’s where her ashes will end up”
“Still not funny, Anne.”
“You put a dent in the back of her Cayenne,” I pointed out.
“We’ll never get this trip started at this rate,” Chris complained.
Lillian’s neighbor Jeff strolled over to look at the destruction the Cayenne had wrought. “Yep, it looks bad,” he said. “You two are eager to get going, so I can fix the mailbox. Not like she’s going to be needing it.”
Chris shot a look at Jeff and said, “Everyone’s a comedian.”
“Except for you,” I said and I received his evil eye.
“Get in the car,” Chris said as he pulled open the driver’s door.
I kissed Jeff’s cheek and said, “Thank you for fixing the mailbox. I left the key under the mat and you know where the key to the shed is. Here is the key to the Honda. Help yourself to anything you like while we are gone.”
“I’ll keep an eye on the place, Anne. Don’t you worry.”
“See you when we get back.” I said, and opened the passenger door.
The dark blue Porsche wore the new badge of honor on it’s right rear fender and for twenty miles, Chris complained endlessly. “This car cost $68,000 brand new. You would think the engineers could make one without a blind spot. That could have been a cat or a child and I would never have seen it. This car is nothing but a piece of crap. It drives like a tank.”
I grew tired of the tirade, so I said, “Give it a rest, Chris. I don’t want to hear you complain for the next 14,000 miles.”
“Do you have any idea how that kind of mileage is going to reduce the value of this car? It won’t be worth half of that $50,000 by the time we get it to Santa Fe.”
“What are you really pissed off about?” I asked him in an unkind tone of voice.
“I am pissed about this trip, that’s what I am pissed about. If my mother wasn’t dead, I would kill her.”
“You hear that, Lillian?” Directed my voice to the back of the car where her urn rested between a case of water and a suitcase. “He said he wants to kill you.”
“I didn’t say that,” he said.
“You are lying to your mother?”
“Come on, Anne. She’s dead. No one can lie to her, again.”
“You hear that, Lillian? He says it doesn’t matter if he lies in front of you.”
“I didn’t say that, Mom,” Chris said, addressing the urn. “It’s just that Anne make me crazy. She makes me want to pull my hair out, she is so irritating.”
“Lillian wants to know how I am irritating?”
He glanced at me and then fiercely concentrated on his driving for several miles. “You never take my side. You always gang up against me with your mother and with Lily and even with Lillian.”
“Gang up on you? How?”
“You tell Lillian everything I do that is wrong. Or what you think is wrong.”
“No, I don’t. I don’t tell Lillian half of what you do wrong. And if I ganged up against you with my mother, we would have never gotten married. She always tells me to leave you. So far, I’m still here. As for ganging up on you with Lily, have you noticed that your daughter has a mind of her own and will never gang up with someone she thinks is wrong. Lily thinks you are very wrong for cheating on me with a skank.”
“She doesn’t understand and neither do you,” he said and then sulked for several miles.
The sign for North Carolina appeared on the right so he pulled the Cayenne over to the shoulder. “Let’s get this over with.” We stepped on the grass in front of the sign and I held the phone up in order to capture his face and mine and the sign that read “Welcome to North Carolina” behind us. Snow jumped out of the car and peed next to the welcome sign before hopping back into the back seat and onto her dog bed.
Neither of us smiled in the photo and we stood about a foot apart. The sign ended up between our heads in the photo. I emailed it to Mr. Cartwright.
The journey had officially begun.