We were traveling west this evening, first down FM 1960 to pick up comics, then further on the same road until it became Hwy 6 to find a burger. It wasn't until we passed under the freeway that signaled the road's name change and the conversation shifted from where to eat to whether dinner should be the final stop before the great turn and the homeward drive that I noticed it.
Trying to determine whether a new bookstore was in the same place--and possibly a reincarnation of--a store we'd visited just post-college, during the first iteration of Magic, for gaming paraphernalia, we began talking about the first house.
We didn't have it for very long. It was in a small neighborhood just off Hwy 6 and down from a tiny mall that felt like a pin in the outer boundary of the city. Beyond the mall it could be all cattle and two-lane, dwindling until caught by the spur of another expanding town. I had one cool season to enjoy the second-story window ledges, an elbow and a glass of tea balanced on them while I read on the floor in a pile of pillows or laundry.
We locked ourselves out on the patio on New Year's Eve Y2K because we weren't yet familiar with the way the aluminum bar fell just so. One of the women I worked with recommended a Mexican restaurant down the highway and we went for the pickled carrots and the double height ceilings and the food.
Once, we came home from visiting my in laws up I45 past Buffalo, exiting 1960 and taking the long road home. We must have hit this section at a similar time in the evening, with a car full of sleepy dogs, and I know that we usually came to the gaming store in the evenings after work. Tonight the sun is sinking but far enough from the horizon to blear through the windshield. If we keep going west, I imagine we can get to the house, get back to Wynn and Baron as they were then, when our backyard was large enough to run through and pears fell into the back corner.
Driving west on the broad, pale road is tracing backward toward the last time that forward motion felt like progress. I miss the house I barely got to know and the dogs who knew so many other places, even this house so much further north and east.