I made the trek to Hillsdale County this weekend, first to see my brother and then to visit a friend in from out of state. It’s an hour and a half drive each way, and I genuinely enjoy the time to myself. I can play my music full blast without risk of hearing loss to my children. It’s mostly country driving, with a few small towns scattered in to keep you on your toes. Peaceful . Quiet save my music and my thoughts. I make the trek frequently and I never tire of it.
This trip was not unlike any of the thousands I’ve made in the 11 years I’ve lived so far from home, except it was the holiday weekend so I was being extra vigilant of idiot drivers and cops. I have a little bit of a lead foot, so I actually utilized my cruise control to keep myself out of trouble.
I also had the oldest with me for half the trip each way, dropping him off at a friends house and then scooping him up on the way back. He stays quiet with his tablet though, so I still had time to think.
I dropped Matt off, and headed to my brothers. Then off to my friends where I stayed for a bit, and then headed back towards home.
Just outside of Hudson, an older model blue vehicle ended up in front of me. I paid little notice to the vehicle, wrapped up in the music and the beautiful day. It was warm but not too warm, I was able to drive comfortably with my windows down instead of my AC running. I reached down and grabbed my lighter and a cigarette, and the song changed on the radio. Footsteps by Pop Evil came on, one of my favorite songs.
And that’s when I began to notice the man driving the car in front of me.
He had shoulder length white hair. It wasn’t held back in a ponytail, nor a hat on his head, but it immediately struck me how much it resembled my dads.
All I could really see was his silhouette. The white hair was definitely visible, and he’d occasionally turn his head and I could discern glasses of some sort.
I turned down my radio. Lit my cigarette. And watched the man in the blue car. I noticed the make and the model of the car was that of a vehicle dad had owned before he passed, just a different color.
And for Footsteps to be playing . . . It’s a song I’ve associated with my dad and his passing. A song that gave me strength through the first month’s after he wasn’t there to help guide me anymore.
I was thoroughly intrigued at the multitude of coincidences at this exact moment in time.
For a few miles I felt like I was following my dad down the country roads. It was a peaceful feeling. I smiled, knowing that it was the combination of coincidences making me feel that way, but oh. . . I let myself believe for a moment. I miss him so very much. What I wouldn’t give to hear his voice again, to vent about the hecticness, to listen to him tell me in his quiet, thoughtful way some story or another.
As we neared Adrian, I took notice of the rado again. “Airplanes” by B.O.B. came on. And as Haylee Williams began to sing the chorus “Can we pretend that airplanes/in the night sky/like shooting stars. . . I could really use a wish right now. . .” tears came. I had noticed miles ago that the man had huge eye glasses, very much unlike anything my dad would wear. And the shadow of his face was nothing like my dads. I knew that it had been an illusion. But I had let myself get lost in it, and I wished so very much that I could go on pretending that I was following my dad somewhere . . . Anywhere.