Christina Ruotolo

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Some people while driving, text, talk on their cells, sing, or speed delightfully toward their next destination. They have no worry, no fear, and no nerves. The just enjoy traveling the open road, being adventurous and not caring what lies around the next curve or mountain. They can take off their watches, steer the car toward miles of country and be glad that the sky is blue and the weather is grande.
This used to be me. I loved getting in the car and traveling whether it was for twenty minutes, five hours or just around the block. There was something about being in control and steering the car toward something, a goal, a destination, a party, or even to nowhere. Lazy summer afternoons were spent riding and gazing at country, beautiful trees, cotton fields and nature. It was a beautiful time. My mom and I used to travel by car to Vermont each fall to see Grandma.

Vermont is the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen, lush, green pastures dotted with cobalt blue Silos, cows grazing in pastures and miles of nothing but beauty. It was and is still breathtaking to me. The fall gave way to wet leaves and the distant smell of maple syrup and wheat lingered on your tongue.

When I first started dating my boyfriend, he lived in his car. His clothes were neatly organized in rows in his trunk and we spent many of those first few years together driving in the country, the city and the outskirts of towns or a quick trip to the beach. After work, we grabbed a bite to eat, took off the T-tops in his 87’ MR2 and cruised down long, winding, desolate roads. We stopped in lonely tobacco fields and walked around for hours exploring old barns and enjoying the fresh air on our virgin cheeks. I felt alive and in love. Those are glorious memories for me, that I always think back on and smile.

My problem is that since I developed IBS and Fibromyalgia, these drives no longer are pleasant, blissful moments, but plotted and planned out itineraries that involve bathrooms stops, breaks and maps. I count miles between exits and always look to see what bathrooms, restaurants and gas stations each exit has. Sometimes when my tummy is giving me fits, I wonder if I should have stopped just then and I hope that I can make it to the next exit. The “just jumping in the car” moments I fear are gone forever. I want them back. I want to gladly jump in the car with my sweetie and hit the open road and not find myself counting miles, and minutes until the next “destination.” I want to sit on the beach anywhere where no one goes so we can sit alone together, but instead I have to sit near the public restroom, just in case. Why? Because IBS doesn’t care if it’s 63 miles to a rest stop or if one is just up ahead. It doesn’t wait for stoplights or traffic on the highway and it sure as hell doesn’t care about trains. It has a mind of its own and it’s getting in my way. And it’s pissing me off.

I want to enjoy destinations again. I want to enjoy open roads, sitting in the Daffodil field until the sun has left and it’s just the two of us under the moonlight.

I don’t want to get up and leave but stay there with you for hours and once again it can be like it was when your hand was in mine and we went to the schoolyard playground and swung on the swings until our legs hurt till 2am. I want to camp with you again, in a big tent, nowhere near a bathroom, roasting marshmallows over a crackling fire and laughing with you until my belly hurts, but in a good way.

This is what I want and I will get it back. So open roads, cotton fields and desolate beaches, you better wait for me, because I’m going to come back real soon. Just writing this makes me want to grab the picnic basket and big beach towel with the blue dolphin, pack the trunk, pop a couple Imodium and play hookie tomorrow.

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