Life is a highway

No, there is no country music involved here—and if you even thought that for a moment, you lose two points and go three squares back.  See, I was driving down the highway to my parents’ house for one last day of Magic and sibling silliness with my brothers before they head back to school (19 years between me and the baby… boggles the mind, doesn’t it?!) and as usual I was watching the scenery. Though for whatever reason, I wasn’t looking at the falling leaves and Halloween decorations, I was watching the shoulder of the asphalt.


Scattered along the highway were little bits of people’s lives. A grocery receipt here, a McDonald’s bag there. Sure, most of it is litter, but not all of it.  That mitten could have been a favorite, leaving a little girl somewhere in tears because her purple fuzzy mitten is gone.  Those guys on the fishing trip are going to be pissed when they realize that bump caused their cooler to fly free of the boat. And I can only imagine how upset that woman is going to be when the night chill hits her and she can’t find the fall jacket she knows she packed. Little parts of their lives, tiny pieces of their souls… left behind for better or worse, to be mourned or forgotten.

I’m sure I’ve lost a lot of things along the highway over the years, after all, I’ve been driving for a long time. I only know of one thing though, and thought of it as I watched the baseball cap and unopened envelope go whizzing past. While moving, almost two decades ago, a box fell out of the truck and no one among the friends helping with the move noticed it bounce free of the vehicle. Hell, I didn’t notice until the move was done and I was unpacking. You’ve seen the lone shoe on the highway, right? Somewhere in central Wisconsin, late one summer in the early 90s, an entire box of shoes lay abandoned. Surely toppled and open, its contents were likely spilled for other drivers to cruise past and wonder how and why they were there.

Now, being my shoes, I’m sure you can imagine what it was filled with: high tops, sneakers, little cheap tennies, and maybe even a pair of winter boots. And you’d be right. But I remember that box. I mourned that lost box. Because hidden in the middle of that pile of comfortable tomboy kickers was a pair of bright red strappy shoes that I loved.  I used to buy red just to match those shoes. They were comfortable and flashy and sassy and fun. And I lost them, somewhere on the highway of life. A little piece of me, abandoned on the asphalt but never forgotten.

I’m boxing up belongings again for another move. The road is curvy and with winter coming, could be slippery.  And I still haven’t gotten over those damn red shoes. Maybe I’ll get a closed U-haul this time, rather than risk the open beds of trucks and trailers. I’d hate to risk losing another little piece of me somewhere along the road…

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