February 2, 1981
I’m back in frigid Massachusetts again.
Melanie and I had a good weekend in Las Vegas, we saw a couple of shows, and drove out and saw the Hoover Dam. We did almost no gambling, each of us spending only a few dollars on slot machines, and we didn’t even bother to watch the Super Bowl. It was nice, the nice restaurants without TVs had plenty of empty tables, and so we had a romantic candlelight Moroccan dinner while the rest of the city watched as the Raiders beat the Eagles.
Monday night, after we had collected our winnings, and deposited them, I took Melanie to the airport, and she was off to Florida. There wasn’t the same feeling of sadness that surrounded her departure as usual, but so much has changed in the last three months. The truth is, we had kind of settled into a routine when we’re together, she knew that I had my personal plans, that I wanted to work not only saving my parents and Sam, but also getting my Ph.D. and trying to get all of the time-travel science in order since I know it has yet to be invented right now; now she has her own mission, she knows that she cannot stop AIDs, but she’s preparing to do as much once it begins. I must have properly conveyed the horrors of the disease to her, because she is as determined as anyone I’ve ever seen.
The next morning, I left Las Vegas, driving up Interstate 15 through Utah. I took my time driving, because I knew that it was going to get colder the closer I got, but also there was so much natural beauty along the route; canyons and salt flats.
Eventually, I had to turn on Route 70, and drive through the Rockies towards Denver. This leg of the ride, driving slow was a necessity and not a luxury. The roads weren’t bad, but even with my highly skilled winter driving abilities, it was a nerve wracking ride. I got to Denver, and stopped at a hotel at 5 am. I spoke to the clerk for a few minutes while I checked in, and told him I’d been on the road since 10 the morning prior; he explained to me that I nearly doubled the time it would have taken in the summer.
When I layed in bed, I felt the tension of forcing myself to remain awake and concentrating as it literally shook free from my arms. I must not have been in bed much more than 5 minutes before slept enveloped me.
I was woken up three hours later by housekeeping entering the room. Apparently she had knocked a couple of times, but I hadn’t heard it. She left quickly and apologetically, and put the “Do Not Disturb” tag on the door behind her. When I woke four hours later, and got ready to check out, I left her a five dollar tip.
I was back in my car by one, and on the road. That night, I stopped in Iowa City, around midnight, with a lot less stress, the ride however was a lot less impressive visually. After making my way over the Colorado/Nebraska line, it seemed like nine hours of cornfields before I pulled into a Motel 6 parking lot.
The next day was a wet slog through the day before stopping in Buffalo. The day after that ended with me pulling into my own driveway, which had been plowed nicely by a neighbor I had asked to grab my mail while I was gone. He was a nice guy, and so the next morning, I brought him over a box of donuts, and a twenty for plowing.
There wasn’t much of interest in my mailbox, but there was a letter from Judy, with a Polaroid of her new baby.
I suppose you’ve assumed, but I had the baby. It was, I mean is a boy! He was eight pounds eleven ounces, and I have named him Elliot William Thomas, after my father.
He was born natural. No drugs for me! Aunt Linda knows the baby’s not yours. So you don’t have to be afraid when you come to visit, unfortunately she’s not happy about him in general.
I took a look at the picture, and he was clearly half-black, and had the cutest sleepy smile. It was hard to believe her Aunt could look at him and not feel anything but warmth, but then again, it was hard to think of Linda and believe that anything could make her feel warmth.
I don’t care about that though. She’s mostly just worried the women at church will judge, but I don’t really care. I only go because she wants me to, and I figure if she’s embarrassed of us, maybe she’ll stop asking me to go.
I’m really excited that my son is going to get to grow up in the world you told me about. I know you only told me the good stuff, but that’s all I want to think about for him. It’s been a great gift, and I really love you for that.
How was the rest of your trip to Las Vegas? Did you look to see if there was a new girl working my turf?
I hope to see you soon,
After that, I called Melanie to let her know I was back and safe.
Today, I’m going to see my grandmother, then off to work. I wasn’t scheduled but I called and told them I was home, and there were a couple of call-outs, so they’re going to have me fill in somewhere else in the store. Heading out to see Grandma in just a couple minutes from now.