sometime to return

Got home from a great workout a few minutes ago. The dogs, who’d been waiting for me in Becky’s house, greeted me as though I’d left them there for a week. Again. They definitely live in the moment, my dogs.

It hardly seems as though I returned from Maine over a week ago. Almost as soon as I returned, I had to housesit and take care of three dogs for J___ through the weekend. Which was a good gig, because her dogs are very sweet and love to sleep. I had to wake them up. When I came back home on Tuesday, Rex and Pixie acted as though I’d been away for months on safari or something. They must’ve misread the black fly bites on my ankles as being from the Congo and not from Maine. That’s what I get for picking peas from my parent’s garden. Itchy ankles.

My week in Maine was wonderful. I know I never say much about my family, and that’s because I’m promoting myself and my books on the Internet and not them. So I’ve always made it a general rule to respect their privacy and leave them out of my blog stories and social networking stuff. I’ve been pretty good about that. But what the hell. Rules are made to be broken. First, I will say that I’m grateful they allowed me to return to the Lambert Homestead for a week. Because of other circumstances, I wasn’t entirely certain I was going to be able to go home. So back in May, when my parents called on my birthday, I said I might visit sometime around the end of June to attend my high school reunion. They laughed and said, “What a coincidence. We’re going to Wisconsin to go to our high school reunion in June. But we should be back in Maine by then.” I’m not a planner, and my attention span is short, so by the time I decided I could actually go to Maine I’d forgotten that my parents were out of town and couldn’t understand why they weren’t answering their phone when I called to try to let them know I would be visiting. They think answering machines are the devil and refuse to own one, so it’s not very easy to get in touch with them. They have a cell phone, but barely know how to use it. Ninety percent of the time it’s turned off anyway. The other ten percent is spent listening to them say, “What? I can’t hear you. What’s that? Oh, for the love of–” Or there’s deafening silence after you spend ten minutes telling them a story and you finally realize the connection was lost, or their phone lost power because they never charge it until it’s too late.

Anyway, as I was saying, they never did answer the phone and, as I was racing out the door to catch my flight, I thought, “Hopefully, they’re still hiding the spare house key in the same place.” When I arrived at the Lambert Homestead, after driving for miles down winding country roads into the sticks of rural Maine, all the doors were locked and it was obvious they hadn’t been home in quite some time. “Crap,” I said. “Now what?” I wanted to call Becky to let her know that I’d arrived safely, but I’d stupidly left my cell phone behind in the car when she dropped me off at the airport. At least it was fully charged and I knew how to use it, even though it was thousands of miles away from me. I was searching for the hidden key and was about to give up looking and go back into town to find a motel when I randomly turned around and found a man staring at me. I screamed. When I realized it was my brother, I stopped screaming and said, “Asswipe. You scared the shit out of me!” “What are you doing here?” he asked. We’re close.

My brother confirmed that the ‘rents were still out of town. “They should be back by Friday. Or they could be back tomorrow. Or even Thursday. Maybe not even until next Monday. But they should be back Friday,” he said. It was Wednesday. “So,” I said, “what you’re saying is that you don’t know when they’ll be back.” “Right,” he said. Genius! My brother loaned me his cell phone to call Becky. There was no food in the house, so I had to drive fifteen minutes back into civilization to forage for food in a part of the world where life as we know it shuts down by 10:00 in the evening. It was almost dusk. I panicked and had a sudden urge to get home before my mother turned on the street light, a beacon calling her children home for the day. But they weren’t home and I wasn’t a child, so I continued on and found a place that was open and serving food. After dinner I drove back to my parent’s house and let myself in with the key that my brother found for me. I wandered through the quiet house with nothing to do. No cell phone, no cable, no Internet service. Not a single luxury. Like the Beverly Hillbillies, as primitive as could be. I was about to call it an early night and go to bed when headlights flashed through the windows, signaling that a car was coming up the drive. I went outside and saw my parents getting out of their car. “I wondered whose car that was in our driveway,” my father said. “What are you doing here?” my mother asked. “I’m up for my reunion,” I reminded her. “That’s right. I wasn’t sure when that was.” They hugged me and my dad said, “What a wonderful surprise!” “I found him rummaging around in the garage, looking for the key, and I thought he was a thief,” my brother suddenly said from behind me, and I yelped loudly, because I had no idea he was still there. “Stop doing that!” I begged.

About timothyjlambert

Timothy J. Lambert is allegedly a writer.
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