Fresh starts (sample)

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“Mom, are you sure?” Tanner is following me as I take my luggage out to my Jeep and get it loaded. He shadows me step for step but at no point does he actually pick up a bag and help. I don’t know if he is doing it out of protest of me leaving, because he’s still mad at me or Eric and I just did a shitty job raising him but either way, it is pissing me off.

“I’m very sure, Tanner,” I say for what feels like the hundredth time this conversation. I’m struggling to keep my voice even and not let my exasperation creep in but going by the side-eye Tanner gives me, I am failing. On a happy side note, he finally picks up a bag in each hand to carry out to my SUV.

“I am just worried about you Mom, that’s all,” he mumbles while walking out behind me as we carry out the final load. I have nearly all of my clothes with me as well as anything I ‘can’t live without’, plus some dishes, linens and the like to get me started wherever I end up. I’m thinking British Columbia, somewhere up north maybe but I’m not sure – I’m going to drive and see what I find and what intrigues me. I have my divorce settlement in my bank account and instead of buying a house here like I originally planned, I’m hitting the road. Hopefully, wherever I ‘land’, I’ll be able to afford a condo or house and then I’ll look for some part-time work. I have enough money to sit for awhile but not retire so something in retail for the extra money will be perfect – another consideration to keep in mind wherever I stop.

“I know, baby boy, and I love you for it,” I say to Tanner as I take him into my arms and hug him tightly before getting into my driver’s seat. If I mope and cry too long with my youngest child, I’m going to lose my nerve and not go so I need to get this goodbye over with fast. As it is, I won’t be able to drive right away because my eyes are full of unshed tears.

“Stop when you’re tired and stay on main roads at all times. Text me a ‘hello’ once a day so I know you’re okay – please Mom?” Tanner pleads with me and I nod immediately, promising to a daily check-in. I don’t mind actually; it is beneficial to both of us since anything could happen while I’m driving across the country by myself. Win/win.

Tanner kisses me through my driver’s door window then steps back to watch me drive away. I was hoping he would leave first since my eyes are screwed up but seeing as I have no choice, I wipe them as best I can, start my car and with one last wave, pull away from the curb. I drive about two blocks, ensuring Tanner is out of sight and pull over again. For the first time since I started the divorce process, I let myself go and release it all… my hurt, my anger, my frustrations – everything. My sides ache from sobbing so heartily but my soul feels eased when I’m finally under control again, shocked to discover I’ve been crying for more than ten minutes.

I pull away from the curb again and resume my drive before someone in the neighbourhood reports me as suspicious to the police, also anxious to begin anew after unleashing the old. I have a rough idea where I want to end up but how I’m getting there is completely undecided – whichever turns I take in my journey is the route I’ll be on… nothing is preplanned or booked. It is truly the stupidest thing I have ever done, completely irresponsible and I’ve never been more nervous or excited before in my life – and that’s saying something after being married and three having children!

I’ve never been ‘me’ before in my entire life – I’ve always been someone else, as ridiculous as that sounds. First, I was my parents’ daughter, then Eric’s wife and now mother to our boys. At no point have I ever lived alone – going straight from my parents’ home to a home I shared with Eric, and at no point have I ever just been… Sara. Once upon a time I used to paint but once the boys came along – who had time? Canada is a spectacularly beautiful country and I make a mental note to myself to pick up some painting supplies along my travels – I’ll never find a better time to start up again then now.

In no time I’ve left New Brunswick behind and am cruising the St. Lawrence through historic Quebec. Being neighbours, we spent a lot of time in the French province but I’m embarrassed to admit that the language is not something I ever picked up, even after all these years. I can speak and understand the basics – enough to get by but that’s it. I don’t attempt to use it often though because my accent is terrible and I know I mangle some of the words horribly, which I’m sure insults everyone’s ears around me. But because I’ve spent so much time over the years in Quebec, I won’t be staying here much now beyond passing through to Ontario. Having said that – Quebec is huge and it would still take me a full day if I went straight through, which I’m not. I make it as far as Quebec City where I find a small motel on the outskirts, which allows me to avoid the heart of the city and the majority of the traffic. I’m not sight-seeing this time – I could probably give my own tours of the city at this point so right after breakfast in the morning, I will be back on the highway again and making my way to my next stop – unless something interesting catches my eye along the way.

Who knows what the journey is going to bring?

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