Long Drive Home

Long Drive Home by Will Allison

Book: Long Drive Home by Will Allison Read Free Book Online
Authors: Will Allison
lap. “We’ll see it on the way back, from down there.”
    “To see it from up here,” Liz said, “you’d have to go over it.”
    Three days after our meeting with Floyd Braun, the mail carrier showed up with a packet I had to sign for, paperwork for the separation agreement. It was the first time I’d talked to him since the accident. He scanned the bar code and tucked an electronic tablet back into his satchel. Then he cleared his throat.
    “When the medics got there?” he said. “When you were telling them the kid had had a pulse? I should have spoken up, told them you were right.”
    “I should have let them do their job.”
    He thumbed the bill of his cap. “Truth is, at that point, I thought I might have imagined it.”
    “Didn’t matter by then. If he was dead, he was dead.”
    “That was a bad feeling, not being able to do something.” He told me he’d gone out and signed up for a CPR course the very next day. “Next time, I’m going to be ready.”
    Liz and I hadn’t been apartment hunting since grad school, when she was at Weatherhead getting her MBA and I was at Cleveland State and it was just the two of us. Back then, we’d taken it as seriously as buying a house, inspecting every closet, every light fixture, every scratch on every hardwood floor. This time, we just wanted to get it over with. There would be no imagining ourselves studying together or throwing potlucks or sleeping in on weekends in these new places.
    We got an early start on Saturday. We looked at an apartment building near the university that catered to students; a newer, more expensive one near the train station; and a loft over a nail salon downtown. Sara hated them all. When she wasn’t crying, she was asking why we couldn’t clean out the attic so I could have an apartment there.
    On Sunday afternoon, we saw a furnished fourth-floor studio in a building that backed up to the railroad tracks. Sara stopped sulking long enough to watch a commuter train leave the station. The place was nothing special, but the fridge didn’t smell, and there was no ring in the tub. I told the building manager I’d take it, and he went to get thecontract. Waiting for him, I tried to picture myself eating at the little dinette, telling Sara good night over the phone, sleeping alone on the sofa bed. Liz had to step out into the hallway to pull herself together. Whereas I figured we’d be apart for a few weeks, max, she was presumably bracing herself for the whole two years. Not that I had much sympathy.
    When the manager got back, I told him I wanted to go month to month. Liz took me aside and pointed out that a longer lease would be more convincing to a judge. I said I was planning to find a better place when we weren’t in such a rush. She was too wrung out to argue. I signed a check for the deposit and first month’s rent, the last one I’d write from our joint account.
    Things moved quickly after that. On Monday, we finished the paperwork for the separation agreement and sent it back to Braun, at which point my name was on its way to being off of anything that mattered. On Tuesday, I called the cable company about internet service, stopped by the post office to change my address, and finished packing. On Wednesday, while Sara was at school, Helen arrived from Philadelphia in her Volvo with two suitcases and a frozen meat loaf.
    “An apartment-warming gift,” she said, handing it over. Then she stared at the file boxes stacked in the mudroom. “You’re really going through with this?”
    “Between you and me, I don’t think it’ll last.”
    I loaded the car before I went to pick up Sara so we could go straight to the apartment after I finished my crossing-guard shift. She had told her friends I was moving—“for a while,” she was always careful to add—and by then most of the parents must have known, too. I was embarrassed to think they’d heard the ridiculous excuse Liz and I had given Sara, but we couldn’t bring

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