Beautiful bride, handsome groom, happy families, and good friends made it hard to leave the reception. We were still tired from the marathon trip just 24 hours before and another 11 hour drive lay ahead. Nightfall crept closer; we needed to go.
My beloved Michigan (and dusk) behind us, we entered Chicagoland and I took over as driver. Riding through rain, thunder, lightening and darkness, it wasn’t hard to stay awake and alert. Still heavy traffic at 11 p.m. on a Saturday night, an accident slowed us down even more. With more rain and wind, the drive seemed to stretch endlessly before us.
When would the pouring stop and the road open up? Would it storm all night? I wondered. As the darkness pressed in and the rain beat down, a silly hopelessness fell over me–as if the drive would never end. I just wanted to be home; my beloved Iowa home.
Then, we crossed The River. Heading west under a waxing gibbous, the showers finished, we were finally in familiar territory again. The road was gloriously straight and the traffic light and we forged ahead.
Drifting in and out of sleep while Brad drove, I saw a large (oddly large) lit-up CLOSED sign. It wasn’t neon but it had the same look. It didn’t flash, but stood out in the black night like a warning. What’s actually closed? I mused. Seemingly in the middle of nowhere with no road or building attached, the lit-up CLOSED sign had no purpose. At least no purpose I could see in the darkness.
With no answer to my wonderings, I took over at the wheel. As the hours and the miles passed, a dewy mist started rising up. Patchy at first, the fog gradually thickened into a soup. The moon shone clear overhead, but down on the road, the fog persisted and slowed us down–again. Depth perception marred and low beams on, we made our way through the night as the misty monster swallowed the pavement right before our eyes.
Switching drivers yet again, I fell back into a dazed, uncomfortable sleep. Several hours or a few minutes later, I woke up.
Still enmeshed in fog we continued on our journey, only now the black wasn’t quite so black. It didn’t threaten to swallow us anymore. Even though it was still decidedly night, Daylight was coming, and with the daylight, meant home.
Home: where familiar faces greet you and your heart is at rest and the long journey over.
We were almost home.