Nine-thirty, the three of us arrive at HAR, tired, half-drunk, half-asleep, and burdened with what we’d had to carry instead of store. We walked the two miles toward my house, my girlfriend trying to convince us to keep the weekend going for just a bit longer, we other two, older, too tired to bother. We walked on past the people who, like Mary, tried desperately not to acknowledge that it was sunday, the twilight of the weekend and the near return to tedious state jobs.
After Philly, Harrisburg’s streets seemed empty, the air seemed clearer. Hotter, wetter, but less oppressive. More insects. Fewer pollutants. Fewer strange elbows.
I’d left most of my stuff behind. We three had missed the play, the reason for our having gone. We’d got my suit, the thing meant to be an on the way errand. Instead of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, it was my power relay dead. Instead of to a show I’d worn my suit to a AAA service center. Now it was folded as delicately as I could in my gym bag, that strapped over my satchel, both cutting into my trapezius, front and back.
Past State Street and even the meager last minute crowds had thinned from a constant stream to an archipelago, then to detached, volcanic islands of smokers, them the only sign of activity in a fairly inert area.
At the garage I let Andy in and we said our good-byes. After the ten minute taxi ride, two hours on a train, and forty-five minutes of walking, he still had a fifteen minute drive.
The garage seemed strangely empty without my car in its spot.
An hour later, after a brief rest at home, I’d returned to the garage to start my father’s cars in the hopes that one would run well enough to get Mary to work the next day, today. Both keys turned, neither engine responded.
Another wait and two friends were over. We, mostly Mary, talked to them as I attached the cables two the two cars. Twenty minutes of chatting and finally the engine would turn over on the Suzuki. Conversation finished and friends gone, another twenty minutes of running my father’s car, then the test. Engine off and then restarted without issue. Repeated. Backed up and reversed a few times.
I’d hoped that was enough.
This morning, I woke up early and before I’d fully gained consciousness my dreams merged with a dull, grinding sound outside, one that soon grew too loud to leave me asleep, even half-way. My father’s tree cutters had come at seven-thirty.
Fully awake I felt anxious. I knew the reasoning behind the deforestation, but I was no less happy about it. Logical or not, I felt an environmental traitor declaring the need for more trees while my own property, even temporarily, decreased the global total number.
Stress made me quick. Dressed, cats fed, Mary nagged, computer turned off in preparation for the loss of power, ready to go an hour early. Half an hour later, Mary and I walk around the severed limbs of the spruce to make it to the garage and to the Suzuki. It doesn’t start.
We walk back the way we’d come the previous day, back downtown to find food and coffee, mostly for an escape from the anxious sense my home today inspires.
Here, I do all the errands and chores I should have been doing for the past week. I overcaffeinate.
Mary and I sit and write and work toward future endeavors as we wait out powerlessness and a tornado watch in the modern writer’s affected hangout.