Chapter 2 – Hurry Up and Wait
The walls are bare, the white tile floor is empty and the dogs howling and barking echo throughout the house without reverberating off the furniture that is now located in New York. “Now what do I do?” I begin to focus my efforts on repairs and fortifications while I’m in my empty Tampa house for the next three weeks. Not four days earlier I said my goodbyes alongside of Marlyse to all of our friends and family. I’m back again for three more weeks. This is possibly the weirdest feeling to describe to anyone. It almost seems like you’re a ghost overseeing everyone you just left and said your peace with, as morbid as that sounds.
Now surrounded by our renter’s furniture and belongings, the freshly painted walls take shape for a new family. Our dogs have a look of sadness but then a look of, “so what’s next?” I try to get them accustom to walking on a leash morning and night and I do not let them run through our yard. That was difficult for me than it was for them.
Daily, Marlyse and I would talk and text on the phone keeping each other updated as what we did that day. Marlyse still has her Bath and Body Works job so this keeps her mind occupied and meeting new people while I’m not in Manhattan with her yet. She takes on beautiful sights of the city but when you cannot share those views with anyone it is not as fun. She continues to try and make the apartment feel more like home but with me and the pups away, this is an unending task.
August 5th, it’s time to jump in the Element and leave Tampa. I wanted to leave in the morning so most of the day was driving but I had to wait for Tim to get off work. So I perfected the packing job in the Element to retain space for the dogs to still be comfortable. This game of Tetris was NOT easy! I had enough stuff to fill the whole Element but I needed about three feet deep of space for Ellie and Rhino. With no regard for looking back, we leave around 8pm. There was no stopping and sighing, I wanted to be gone.
I take the first leg of driving but both of us are already tired from me packing and him working. The dogs think they’re just going to the dog park 5 minutes down the road. About three hours into the drive, they both finally sit. About 10 hours in, Ellie finally lays down. Just like the drive in the budget truck with Marlyse, this 24 hour driving is not easy. So, in North Carolina we stopped and took an hour long nap. We hit DC around 2pm but traffic was stopped. We should have gone around the city. Trying to get through what should have taken 20 minutes took 2 hours.
In New Jersey we stopped at a Chick-fil-a because there are not any in New York (that we have found). One last sandwich and then we cross the George Washington Bridge. This bridge is always super busy and no one wants to let you in. Turn signals are nearly extinct and no one wants to let you in. If you are a passive driver or a distracted driver, take a cab. There is no room for your driving inability in New York City!
The rain drizzles down just enough to make the roads slippery. No cell phone is used by drivers surrounding me. A certain speed has to be maintained or else you get honked at or you nearly cause a wreck. You have to brake from that certain speed to an absolute halt on a declining and winding road. “I’m almost home. God do not let me wreck while I have been driving this long to get here!” I get off of the Henry Hudson Parkway, otherwise known as the last racing game I played. The dogs stare intently through the windows at the amount of movement they see going on. There it is. The apartment complex. We made it home and visiting friends that are leaving at the same time are standing on the doorstep to wave goodbye. I let the dogs out in the rain and they cannot understand what all is going on around them. Marlyse, Tim and I empty the Element and then we find a parking spot down the road. Everything from our Tampa life has been reunited in its new location. We’re home. Now for the adventure to start.