When you grow up in New England, life revolves around the seasons. Memorial Day kicked off summer, even though it was still too cold to swim. Labor Day meant back to school, even though it was still too hot for turtlenecks. Halloween nights you wore your costume over your coat and jumped into piles of colorful, crackling leaves. But at least you knew what holiday was next.
Moving to Florida was everything I’d hoped for. The soothing rustle of palm fronds, tropical breezes filled with scents of orange blossoms, the warm Gulf waters. The cookie-cutter forecast on the television screen a far cry from weather that could start out as snow, change to drizzle, freeze to ice, then melt all in the same day. Good-bye Nor’easters, hello hurricanes.
I thought the distance between the north and south, past and present, living and dead would be enough. That somehow I could leave my baggage behind once and for all. So I ran. Fast and far. But I couldn’t outrun it. The massive gray baggage showed up every where I turned. So many bags. All shapes and sizes. Weighing me down until I collapsed.
“Your father’s gone to Heaven to be with God.”
“Why?” I asked. I didn’t understand.
“Because God needed him. He had a special job for him to do.”
“But I need him here.” God is good? God is great? I hate God.