Today I headed straight into ambivalence. And memories.
I didn’t hit the road till about noon, because J came over and we did the whole bagel and lox Sunday brunch thing. Then they had to figure out how to help me get through the road construction in Cincinnati and onto the Appalachian Highway. I think it took them longer to tell me how to do it than it did to actually do it, but they meant well.
The Appalachian Highway stretches across southern Ohio from Indiana to West Virginia. Except for a few small towns, it’s mostly through unpopulated areas, and very thick forest. It was a route my ex and I had often taken to get back and forth from our house in Logan, Ohio, to visit his parents in Covington, Kentucky, just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati.
When I’d first met A in Oregon, his schtick was to tell people he was from Kentucky, as if being from Kentucky meant that he was wearing his first pair of storebought shoes. Imagine my surprise when I found out he grew up in the suburbs just like I did. Then again, he used that persona to scare away my first ex when he came sniffing around, by leaning on his shotgun and asking B if he’d ever seen the movie Deliverance. Hey, don’t laugh. It worked.
Anyway, so far as I knew, I was headed into A’s current stomping grounds as well as my old ones. In retrospect, I’m not quite sure why I did that. It’s not like I made a point to visit either Bloomington, Indiana, or Port Clinton, Ohio, which were the two other places I’d lived in this part of the country. And I had absolutely no intention of looking A up, nor did I.
I spent that night in Athens, Ohio, the home of Ohio University (my ostensible alma mater — I finished my undergrad degree by correspondence through OU’s distance education program) and a lovely little misplaced New England town. I visited one of the libraries I used to work at (closed on Sunday), found a restaurant that I’d liked when I’d lived 40 miles down the road from here, and spent the night in a motel where A and I had spent the night when we’d driven down for him to sign the contract for the job he still held, so far as I knew.
It was all very odd. And it would get a bit odder tomorrow.