Off to college

Look at the stars
Look how they shine for you
And everything you do
Yeah they were all yellow…

–Coldplay, Yellow

So that’s it, then.  All those years, you knew it was coming but you never quite thought it was here; never quite imagined that you’d really be packing the last boxes, doing that final stack of paperwork, and heading off with her to a whole new environment.

Once she hung around a little longer than planned — got slightly older than most of her peers starting in — you let yourself imagine that she’d just be around your house, looking pretty and giving you occasional trouble, but really just being everything you had ever hoped for, and more. You didn’t mean to think that way. It’s just the kind of dreaming that sneaks into a man’s thoughts at a certain point, sort of quietly in the background, and by the time you get around to exorcising it you’ve gotten used to the idea.

She’s going, though. Off to new experiences, a whole different chapter of life over which you have no authorship. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve cleaned her off, set her on her feet, bandaged her up and fed her. It’s just not your place anymore.

Quietly, without really mentioning it, you spend a little extra time with her before she goes. You head off together for various chores, making sure to sneak in a few of the things you used to do together: burger’s at Dick’s Drive-In, maybe a Slurpee at the 7-Eleven if she behaves herself. Ah, who are you kidding? She’s been better than you ever deserved…

Driving back home together for the last time, you savor the ability you have to communicate without words, realizing that this will go away when she does. It takes practice, that level of understanding. It’s not like riding a bike. It doesn’t just come back. These are personal connections, skills of subtlety.

You think to yourself about all the things you’ve done together, and inevitably you chew your guts over all the things you could have done better for her, all the times you could have helped out instead of ignoring her until later; all the places you cheaped out when you could have done it right. She forgave you every time. She’s pretty sweet that way. Maybe that part won’t go away. Maybe that memory will linger, whether you deserve it or not.

One thing’s for sure: you’ll have plenty of time to think about it.

Tomorrow, then. Down the road into a whole new world, to hang out with the cool kids and learn things you don’t know how to teach. Into a new city, a different and worrisome milieu. You hope she’ll be treated well but you know there will be scars, dings and bruises and tears, and you’ll just have to watch, and try to smile, and have a hand ready in case one is requested.

That’s what you get, now, but it’s not a punishment. It’s your reward.

She’s been a helluva good rig. I hope my daughter loves her, too…

G’bye, friendly ol’ truck. Be careful out there. Most of all, you take care of Daughtergirl. If anyone deserves a truck like you, it’s a woman like her.

1954 Chevy Truck












  1. Awww…

    They’ll have such good times together.

  2. That truck deserves that girl. Good on ya.

  3. Poetry…in motion!

  4. Move-in day is fast approaching. The spare bedroom is already filled with all the stuff she apparently needs to survive in those 120 square feet that will make up her half of the dorm room. On Saturday morning, after confirming that it will actually be the very hottest day of the year, we’ll head south.

    By that same evening it will all be done. Except for the dinner check, who needs Dad around any longer? Darn it sweetheart, you took 36 hours to finally appear, why the hurry to disappear? Actually I know why. 33 years ago I left two really good people with the same confused fusings of joy and sadness you leave me with now. Back then, I never gave it a second thought and secretly I’ll admit to hoping you won’t either.

    You’re not just turning a page. You’re putting a whole book back on the shelf and getting down a new one. I hope the last story was good and I pray that the next will be even better. But however the tale unfolds, remember you can always look back to the index and find me there for you.

Speak Your Mind