Shove my head into the concrete culvert. The graffiti in here is disturbing and seems removed from the reality that I understand.
This is secret.
Last day of the trip, driving alone with 2 kids (aged 1 and 4) from northern New Mexico to Tucson, AZ hauling a 16 ft. trailer.
Stopped for the night in Benson, AZ which is about an hour outside Tucson. Headed to the Wal-Mart to buy electrical tape and switch out the empty propane tanks. With the trailer I always park way out, far away from the store. I almost step in a huge pile of puke when I get out of the Tahoe. We get what we need inside plus some DVDs from the $5 bin, which is kinda fun to sift through in and of itself.
But this is no Super Wal-Mart and there are no groceries here. I was planning on staying the night in the WM parking lot, as that is almost always the easiest option. But I’ll have to drive the trailer around this town looking for the grocery store and then drive back to the WM.
The Safeway is just down the street and in a strip mall with a Wendy’s.
We shall dine on Wendy’s first.
The memory of this meal is one I go back to often. The guilt I would have certainly felt previous to this time taking my children to a fast food establishment has vanished. I am carefree and joyous. My kids are safe, warm, fed and happy. I am happy too, swiveling in my swivel chair along to the oldies being played in the dining room, sipping ice cold root beer out of a fat straw.
It is easy for a moment.
Then to the grocery store. We buy whatever we normally bought at this time, with no fridge and a small camping stove to cook on. And I am tired again by the time we are checking out. I ask the cashier if we can park the trailer in the parking lot for the night. She tells me I’ll have to ask the manager who is standing behind the customer service counter and talking on the phone. I walk over with my hands full of grocery bags and my two little kids and try to look as pathetic as possible.
I ask him while he’s still on the phone and he nods like he is doing me a big favor.
I end up parking in the very farthest spot of the ACE hardware lot which is between the Safeway and the Wendy’s.
There is no lock on the inside of the trailer and I don’t feel very safe that night for some reason. I feel fine in the wal-marts, and out in the middle of nowhere public land. But this night I lay awake for almost the entire night.