Always One More Thing

Dearest Rachel –

Now that you’ve been gone for all this time, I guess it falls to me to pull the “just one more thing” routine before heading out on a trip.

Bear in mind, I was in no hurry to leave today – and I’m still not. Kris was coming over to clean, and I expected to go out to Mitsuwa for some grocery shopping (and lunch) with Daniel once she was done. I’ve got pretty much everything packed up (although I’m not putting the computer backpack in until the very last minute), but I’m in no rush.

Including this; Daniel does not approve, but it lets me go places where he might be shut out.

But at the same time, every time I think I’ve got everything together, I think of just one more thing – a letter to Twofeathers that I need to mail before I head home, some running money for the dealers room, my charge cord for the iPhone, and how am I gonna plug in the computer to the television in the hotel room?

That last one, I have to head off to Best Buy to get, because while I’m pretty sure I have a display port to HDMI cord, I don’t know where it is. Jan and I put all the electronics in one place, but digging through all that, well…

…let’s just say she’s not going to be thrilled with one more cord to stash in the basement, but hey, I don’t have time to look for something that may or may not be in there right now.

At least I’ve made sure that Daddy Cat is coming with me. Belted in for safety, even.

As it is, daddy cat is the only one that’s coming with me. I don’t see any reason to take any of the other plushies with.

The upshot is that we don’t get done with lunch until after three – although Daniel’s lunch is a lot faster and smaller than most times we’re there. The noodle place he loves so much ran out of noodles as he came up to the counter. They said they’d have more within 16 minutes (yeah, exactly 16 minutes), but after about 10 or 12, the lights were out, and no one was manning the place. I suggested he stop at the yakitori place where we usually would get takoyaki, and get a skewer of some thing. He was hesitant at first, especially since the bacon skewers were wrapped around quail eggs rather than hens eggs. After reminding him of the children of Israel ate quail, he decided to give it a try. Lo and behold, he likes them. Although in fairness, it’s hard not to like anything wrapped in bacon.

After getting home and preparing eight MREs for Chompers, I’m finally ready to head out at 3:45 pm. Dad had asked me the other day what route I was going to take, questioning yet again why I bother to go up I-90, and then down IL-20, When I could just take I-355 to I-88. Well, I think I have an answer: I mean, maybe it’s timing, but driving 20 miles south on I-355 seems to be a whole lot slower than driving those same 20 miles on IL-39. Admittedly, once you’re heading west, it’s fairly clear either way.

And once I am heading west on the open road, I can’t I crank up the news channel in order to drown out the silence. Thankfully it holds all the way across the river, and most of the time, they’re talking about the Lollapalooza music festival downtown this weekend, rather than any nationwide political news. It seems they’re expecting as many as a hundred thousand people there, all looking forward to getting back to doing the same things they used to do before the pandemic.

It kind of sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

I cross the river at around 6 pm, and thankfully, the news continues to hold out. Yes, I could put on music, but that’s sometimes is difficult is trying to text while driving, and we know that’s not a good idea. Besides, I’m not sure what to play. I have the Haibane Renmei soundtrack, but I think that might just be a little too painful.

Heck, just sitting here at the Iowa 80 truckstop is kind of painful. I’m not sure that I’m hungry yet (that late lunch, after all), And for whatever reason – maybe I’m just conscious of it – there are couples everywhere. Couples in their twenties, couples in their seventies, arm in arm, shoulder to shoulder. It takes what appetite I may have had away.

Look, I’m not bitter, I’m just sad. I miss you by my side, and Daddy Cat is a poor substitute.

For now, I make an effort to push my thoughts to the side, order a sandwich and a drink, call up Ellen to brief her about Chompers’ needs, and take my food to go. I’d just as soon not stay here any longer than I really have to at this point. Not like there’s anything going on at the Coralville Marriott at this point, but I’m hoping I’ll feel better once I’m at my destination.

More to come, but for now, I’ve got to go.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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