The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 25
As Rich peddled through the residential streets in the dark, he reflected. “It was a good decision to leave the Jankowsi‘s. It would have been a distraction for me to stay. The thought of having an older brother may have been a fascinating thought for the Jankowski girls. Perhaps I would have been the son Frank never had, nevertheless it would have taken from the girls what was rightfully theirs. Frank knew that, if not then he would know it tomorrow or the next day. If I were picked up by the police today and returned home it would have not been for nothing. I had learned much and grown more.”
Rich rode with a confidence he had not had before. The money was assurance that there would never be any need for me to return home if he experienced doubts, problems, or trouble. The only circumstances that could force him to return were those that were sentimental and emotional, not rational or financial.
The early morning ride was nearly bone chilling, damp, and foggy. The Jankowski girls were probably back to sleep snuggly in their flannel pajamas. Certainly, Frank did not go back to bed. He was probably nursing a second cup of coffee and the morning newspaper at the kitchen table. Mrs. Jankowski was no doubt laying in bed with her eyes open and planning her day. Thoughts of Dad and Mom soon invaded Rich’s thoughts; subjugating and forcing them into an emotional corner and demanding that he think of them. He thought of his dad was now at work. Mom likely also laying in bed and wondering where he was. The truth of the matter is that he had been gone for years. She just now recognizes it and is punishing herself as she lay in bed on this crisp Saturday morning.
Today was going to be a punishing day. A man on the docks said that southern Vermont was riddled with steep inclines and winding roads. Fog was a concern, riding in and out of fog banks, disappearing and reappearing as if a phantom rider.
There was traffic to contend with. The plan was to travel through lower Vermont and travel beyond Bennington.
Rich had grown restless and impatient of New York. Not only was there an extra day’s stay, but it was endless. He was thinking, “Somehow the cosmic forces of the universe have schemed against me and expanded the entire cosmos in order to make New York infinite. I am going to outsmart them. I will not eat until passing over into Vermont. If I am to die it will be at the hands of those invisible cosmic forces and thus upset the entire galactic sequence. They had not planned on that!”
At any moment he expected to experience a time shift to bring the universe back to its pre October 20th setting. Rich wiggled the front tire slightly. “That was it,” he said. “I may already be in Vermont or it must be close.”
Peering into the distance he saw a nondescript sign. Lunging forward and peddling faster it came into clear view, “Vermont State Line.” He peddled past the sign and looked up into the sky and shook his fist, “Foiled,” he said and strained onward. It was nearly 8 o’clock.
He stopped at a diner and parked his bike where he was able to watch it. It was a fine breakfast of pancakes, sausage, and coffee.
In twenty minutes he was on the road again in the back of an empty flatbed truck; the invited guest of a man he talked to at the diner.
Before him was stunning display of mountains like green mounds. His journey charted around the mountains in a precarious array of twists, turns, and gentle slopes. If in heaven he would want to reach down and touch it. No sentiment nor emotion could possibly dissuade me from his decision and being here at this moment. Although the crisp beauty of the fall colors had passed days ago, enough remained that with little imagination the colors could be filled in to complete the picture.
At noon he was off the truck, because the man was turning north. Rich removed his jacket. It felt almost like summer day. he stopped for a moment to inventory his food. In the backpack were four pastrami sandwiches and two peanut butter and jelly. Under them was a note from Mrs. Jankowski;
“I thought you might like these. God bless. PS, the peanut butter and jelly are from the girls.”
He smiled and peddled on.