I remember losing it in the grocery store, salty tears in the bacon aisle. It was months after we lost Grandma. The grief hit me like it had just happened.
Pal passed away six weeks ago, on the same day Grandma passed three years ago. This didn’t feel like a coincidence, not that I know what it means.
Of course I’m still finding his hair everywhere. Today I washed his outrageous amount of bandanas. But it was when I was walking through the Target parking lot that I lost it.
A man was repacking his truck and stuff was everywhere, sprawled across the asphalt. I had this mental flashback of a road trip with Pal. We were moving east so we could be at my niece’s 2nd birthday party. We were leaving Idaho for good, so everything we owned had to fit in the S10. Pal took up the whole backseat and we started off the trip with his bed back there with him. By the time we got to Oregon (and I swear he rolled his eyes because he knew we were going in the wrong direction of Florida but the Oregon coast and the redwoods? Worth it, bubba), he was over it. He needed more room but we had already gotten rid of 40% of our belongings…I only let him keep one purple bandana, he had four.
It was probably Dad’s idea to get an extension grate thing (no idea what they’re called) for the back. We stopped at Walmart and I could barely get the thing in my cart, it was so heavy.
I started unpacking the back and trying to find Tupperware containers secure enough to go on the grate. I naively thought this might take thirty minutes. Boy was I wrong. I got Pal’s bed out and he gladly became the star of the parking lot show as he basked in the sun.
“Need help?” and “whoa you’ve got a lot of stuff”‘s flooded in and I was annoyed. Hmm not a lot of stuff if it’s all your stuff, ya idiot. And no I don’t need help, I’ve traveled across the country by myself and now I have a protector polar bear.
Every piece of this thing had to be put together and then I had to secure it in the hitch, and remember how it was almost too heavy to hit in the cart? Yeah.
Luckily a different man asking if I needed help walked up and I smiled big and said ya know, if you have a tool that looks like this, that’d be incredible. He didn’t but the fourth guy did. Pal sighed every ten minutes.
“It’s an adventure, Pally Wal! We’re on an adventure.”
What an adventure it was. From the west to the east, he was always by my side.