Drivers' Corner - Knight of the Highway


Home. Finally home. Or was this really home? I felt like a stranger in a strange land though the place was occupied by family. It just didn't have that feel of being home anymore. I had always looked forward to getting back and yet the feelings that normally accompanied my arrival seemed to be absent. Was this home anymore? "Where do I belong?" I thought, sad and quiet.

It surely didn't feel like home. I walked in the bathroom and splattered water on my face and neck. As I patted my face and neck dry, I noticed the reflection in the mirror. "Who's that person staring back at me?" I thought. It wasn't amnesia or a separation of self being experienced. It was a feeling of being lost in the world and losing one's own identity. Was I really just another number with a meaningless face and existence? What was my purpose here on this planet? Surely not to just take up space and use up oxygen. I snickered and shrugged at the image in the mirror. I told the image, "Man, you got to get some rest!"

The couch became my refuge with the noise of the television in the background. I determined that my position in the universe at this time would be on the couch watching the one–eyed monster.

While lying there, that image in the mirror kept calling me, asking, "Who are you? What do you want? Why are you here?" I lay there frustrated because I knew I could not honestly answer those questions. I hoped it was the medication causing the questions, especially the lack of answers. I didn't have time for an identity crisis or a mental breakdown.

My deep thoughts were disrupted by the ringing telephone. I had spent half my trucking life on telephones talking to driver supervisors, dispatchers, shippers, receivers, human relations and the like. I detested the day the contraption was invented, but now it provided an escape from my dreary mind. At that moment, the telephone rescued me like a lifeguard pulling me from the drowning water of my thoughts. On the other end of the phone was my dad wondering if I was coming down. Anything was welcome to keep me from being alone...from being left with that person in the mirror asking all those questions. I had spent all that time on the road alone, living a solitary life. Now at this moment, I wanted to be rescued from my solitary confinement and the parent's house would work.

I waited anxiously for my dad to pick me up and take me to their house. I anticipated a quiet night of dinner and watching some type of program, which I'd fall asleep to. My mother would throw a blanket on me and assume I would spend the night. I thought of having a beer when I got there, but knew better. I was forewarned from the doctor of drinking beer with medications. Sun tea was always available at my parent's house and refreshed the thirst better than beer anyway.

My heart sank as we arrived and I saw my car in their driveway. It only meant one thing––Kathy was there. I never told my parents or her that my love was now reserved for a woman in Nebraska. Now I was in a predicament. I wished I were back there with that stranger in the mirror, back in my solitary confinement, away from my parents playing cupid. And away from a woman whom I had convinced myself would be my wife one day. What would Kathy think? How would I tell her my loyalties were elsewhere? That my heart belonged to another? To someone I longed to be with even at this moment? My appetite vanished quickly as the butterflies grew. "It would have been simpler if I would have stayed on the road and not met either gal," I thought to myself. No! I was glad to meet Alice. I was even glad to meet Kathy and to meet her children.

It was too late to tell my dad I wasn't feeling well and to take me home. I thought about it, but knew it would throw a caution flag up. Somehow I would have to sit down with Kathy and come clean. I had come on strong with her thinking she was the person meant for me. Yet at the same time I had Alice in the background waiting patiently for me to discover the feelings that were there. Why couldn't those feelings have come to the forefront before my pursuit of Kathy? Kathy was interested in me and the last time I saw her, the feelings were mutual. But now the interest was only in being friends. Perhaps good friends, but nothing more. It made me feel like a monster, as if I were leading her on. It was never my intentions to be stricken by two ladies at once. Now the work was soon to begin straightening out the mess I had naively walked myself into.

I hesitated in opening the car door as if it would prevent me from the situation I was in. My dad asked if I was all right, sensing something unusual. I lied and told him I was just experiencing wooziness from the medication. The wooziness was from getting myself into a fix I didn't know how to get out of. The situation I was in probably was the reason polygamy was started in the first place. A man somehow got himself entangled into two relationships and, to make things easy, he married both women.

Soon the door opened and Kathy's little ones ran up and hugged me. Kathy stood and looked at me with a smile. I smiled awkwardly back. She probably thought it was only from being banged up and a result of the pain. The awkward smile was from the pain all right, however, not the physical but the emotional pain I felt at the moment. I felt physically and emotionally emptied and was ready to drop where I stood. Then my mind was filled with only one question: "What should I do?"