Frank and I are driving back home in this sweltering summer heat. With the top down, Coldplay blasting in the background loud enough to drown out too much thinking, our midnight blue convertible speeds down I90 this early Sunday morning. We crossed the U.S. border at Gananoque with ease, and the stretch of 500 miles or so are a welcome reprieve.
It will take about 9 hours to make the drive back to Connecticut but the wind blowing through our hair and the mindless focus of watching the yellow dashes of paint sprint along the asphalt in front of us is cleansing. Normally, I prefer the comfort of air conditioning to prevent windburn or sucking on the strands of hair that blow wildly into my face like a scene from Brigit Jones. I smile thinking of this movie scene where she is racing across Britain's countryside on a secret jaunt with naive hopes of "shagging" her, unbeknown to her, philandering boss. Brigit gets out of the mercedes convertible proudly strutting through the hotel lobby, unaware of her hideous beehive hairdo and mistaking gasps of horror for exaltation.
I feel nothing like Brigit of course; we are leaving Toronto and Frank's father in a miserable state. Thankfully the hospital's social worker assigned to his case has found a single bed for Carter in a full time care facility. He will be transferred later in the week and mom will be on her own for the first time in almost sixty years. Mom and Maggie have worked out a schedule for visiting him, and James and some of the other siblings have agreed to share the work. Frank feels better about returning to his work in New York city.
As I look over at him driving, I see Frank moving his head to the beat of the music. I notice his brow is furrowed and hardens his face, and the lines on his forehead hang heavier than they once did. Our conversation has been sparse and we haven't checked in with the kids like we usually do. The wind, music and empty-minded driving brings a sort of lucidity that all will be as it is. I am resigned to sit in the passenger seat for now. I resist the arrogant temptation to think any of us can steer the course of destiny yet I am wise enough nearing my half century of living to know that we can mitigate all circumstance with love, care and presence of being.
I break the spell as I ask Frank, "Hey pal. Do you remember the name of that blind guy in Greek mythology that could see the future?"
Frank looks over at me grimacing. "What are you talking about?" He turns up the volume and says, "It's Coldplay - Viva La Vida. Listen to these lyrics.."
He sings, "The streets I used to own... castle stood on pillars of sand...I used to rule the world."
I smile and join in, "... When I ruled the world... oh, oh, oh....".
While I sing along I can't help but feel the bells in the song resonating deeper within. There is a reference to "St. Peter calling my name" making the song a perfect reflection of where life stands for us, as our children grow up and our parents grow old. We are at that perfect spot - the tipping point - the onset of a season of change.
I sink back into my seat as a new song starts to play, wondering when I first noticed a change in Carter.
"Sandy - I think his name was Tiresias. Does that sound right?" Frank blurted out suddenly. He can't leave it alone either.
"Yes, I think that's right," I said smiling at his brilliant memory and musing over the benefits of being blind.