Months had passed since that fateful night on the doorsteps to Hidden Hollows Tree Farm. I had come there often to see AC Crumpton, and there were many opportunities to be near the most excellent Angela Sims. But it was never one on one, instead it was always in the context of a large group of college aged misfits.
Well, the day came for AC to fly away. We said our goodbyes in Chicago and he was off on this next great adventure. I, on the other hand, was directionless in life. I was still recovering from The Great Disobedience, and didn’t know my next step in life. All I knew was my best friend was flying a thousand miles away and I didn’t know the next time I would see him. So I was sad. I was pensive. I was thoughtful and silent. And I had to drive back home to Michigan. Oh yeah, and I had to drive back home with Angie as my co-pilot.
Angie had a sister going to school in Chicago, and they had spent the week together. So our paths had us going the same direction, so we would make the 6 hour drive back together. Just us. No one else. Just a man and a woman alone in a car on a 6 hour journey to rural Michigan.
We met downtown and loaded up the car. We got into the car and it was pleasant enough. But I am a very dramatic human being. I don’t know how it happened, but it did. I live in my own head way too much and am a pretty selfish person. So as I pulled out I decided to set the ground rules.
“Angie, I am sad. I don’t really feel like talking. I just want to listen to some music and drive? Is that cool?”
That was it. She was polite and said sure. And for the next 5 hours, not a word was spoken. I had in the car a mixed tape collection. In that collection were some real winners. There was “A History of Women Vol 1,” a musical history of every dating relationship I had ever had. I had every Bruce Springsteen album on tape. I had “Lonely, Sad, Depressing” (LSD) volumes 1-3. And as we drove I burned through everything I had. Rich Mullins, Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews, and the Counting Crows sang out as the miles flew by. And the whole time, I just sang and ignored the woman next to me. I literally sang like I was in a car alone. Which means going after the song even though I couldn’t sing. But I didn’t care. I was sad and wanted to sing sad pop songs.
5 hours in, I had exorcised the demons. I was feeling better. I was gone from the city of broken dreams and was now nearing the land of youth. I was thinking clearly and realizing I had been a terrible traveling companion to Angie. So I turned the radio down.
“You hungry?” It was the first words I had spoken.
“I know just the place.” And I did. I was going to make it up to her. I was going to bring her to my home and mom would make us some really good Mexican food. So instead of heading north to the thumb, I kept going east into Metro Detroit. And I pulled into my mother’s driveway to find it empty and without life.
But I had my mind set on redeeming this drive. I wanted Angie to have a nice day, not the most awkward drive in American history. So, I played it off. We came into the house, she took a seat at the dining room table, and I began to cook. That night I cooked a bunch of stuff I had never made in my life. Actually, this may have been the first meal I had ever made for anybody else. I made fish filets in the oven. I made broccoli and corn on the stove. I poured coke over ice. And we sat down and had a very nice meal together. We ate, we talked, I made dumb jokes about being overly dramatic. It was pleasant and warm.
After we ate, I drove her back north to her home and dropped her off. And that’s when I realized I would never see her again. I had no reason to come back to Hidden Hollows Tree Farm. I have no people’s here anymore. AC was gone and so was I. And that made me sad. Cause Hidden Hollows was Rivendell. It was the last Homely House. It had open doors for weary travelers, and Elrond lived inside.
So, I said a polite and restrained goodbye to Angie. I sat at the table real quick and wrote a note to her father. The note read as follows. “Mr. Bob. I have no father. Could I come and see you again? I would like to learn how to be a good man. Like you.” I attached my phone number, put the note on the fridge, and then drive away, not knowing if I would see the elves ever again.