You know what, I have no idea where my grandparents’ old house is. They moved to Tennessee when I was 14 or 15, and so for all those years I had been going to their house and had been there many many times. But I couldn’t tell you if it was north or south or east or west or anything. I have no idea what road it’s on, what county it’s in, what the nearest town is. And it was only 30 minutes from my childhood home! I think about this every time I’m driving around in this area. Where is that place?!
My dad remembers this story, and I remember it too. We went to their house for Thanksgiving one year . . . I was 8 or 9. My brother and both my sisters were in the car too. My parents got in a fight on the ride home. God knows what they were arguing about. They were always arguing. Anyway my mother pulled the car over about a mile from my grandparents’ house, and she said, “Get out.” Keep in mind this was 15 or 20 miles from our house! And not only that, but I had been paying attention to this particular argument, and my dad’s only crime (if you can even call it that) was that he was stoic and quiet. It was Thanksgiving day, we had just eaten at his parents’ house, and he was worn out from years of this stuff. So when she told him to get out, he got out. Like on the side of the road in a heavily forested nowhere nothing. The sun was setting. It was dark out. My mother slammed on the accelerator and we went home. I thought that was really fucked up.
I waited by the living room window for hours and hours. Eventually, later that night, I saw him walking up the driveway in the dark. He came inside and I hugged him and told him I didn’t think he’d done anything wrong. He said he knew that, but he also knew the only way he was going to get any peace was if he walked all that way home. He said he needed time to think anyway.
Many years later, when I was 24, I was dating a woman who I liked a whole lot, and who is a great person, but lord have mercy, it was never going to work out. She got upset with me because she had taken me to a party, and all her friends were there. I think she perceived that I had outshined her or something (which is ridiculous), because I was telling jokes and people were talking to me instead of her. She had shown up in a rotten mood and had stayed that way, so I guess no one really tried to talk to her. On the ride home she was very angry with me and was chewing me out. I didn’t say anything. We were near the UT campus. She told me to get out of the car and I did. We were beneath an overpass. I walked the whole way home. I remembered that day with my father.
Still don’t know where my grandparents’ house is though.