Andrew Barker had exchanged the pretty car he’d purchased, for one more comfortable and practical. He’d only driven it five days, when he realised he was asking too much of the car. That a he needed something very much like the one he had sold.
In a way, selling the new car for another car was kind of an Epiphany. He had loved it, but it wasn’t fit for purpose. To demand something pretty and quick to run for six, eight, ten hours non stop was not possible.
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Why he had bought it in the first place opened his internal mind, the mind he kept locked.
He remembered his father’s slapping away his choice car when he was a teenager, and the insertion of a ‘sensible’ one.
He bought the pretty car as a punch in his father’s mouth. He realised he took his father’s words as a self punishment. His life as a self punishment. He had created a life father could not criticise.
And how’d that work out for ya, Andy? he asked himself.
He’d gone too far in the anti want/anti fun/anti freedom measure. Buying the car was not really his first stride into Andrew Independence. That was walking off the job, that was selling the house, that was racing into the unknown, and buying this car.
Selling the fun car would not effect the previous actions. Those were done and dusted. Living in a rebellion was as much slavery as living under the judgement of his father.
He was glad the old man was dead. His father died puffed up on Andrew’s obedience and left him the house.
When he married Belinda and she said something about her name on the Title he’d said something about wanting to sell and move to another city.
At the time of the conversation his company was expanding. Andrew thought he’d be sent to some other place. This belief lasted for five years, for there were so many ups and downs in the company.
Then the house discussions were shelved with a focus on their son, Philip.
Philip was having various psychological problems, according to the private school guidance counselor. After wasting money on this therapist and that process, Belinda had unilaterally removed Philip from the school, put him in a public school, and all his problems instantly disappeared.
Andrew hadn’t known much about the situation. He’d attended the first meeting with the guidance counselor, he’d paid for the therapy, but stayed out of the nuts and bolts, leaving that to his wife.
When Philip seemed different Andrew said something to his wife about the therapy working…
“The Therapy? Those crooks were milking your pocket. I moved Philip to P.S. 354 last month. You should have noticed that there were no more bills from therapists. He never needed therapy,” she sneered and walked away.
He had sat, puzzled about her attitude, her reaction, her unilateral action, but wasn’t going to get into an argument.
He ought have realised then that Belinda and Philip had moved out of his orbit. That his wife no longer discussed anything with him, that he had become nothing but a source of income.
But he hadn’t. Not then.
Now, getting into his sensible car, driving away, a lot of things he hadn’t realised were filling his mind. Things that anyone would have questioned, but not the Android Andrew.
Although his actions of selling his car, buying another, selling that one in a distant city and purchasing this one seemed part of a clandestine plot to hide and escape, it was simply random.
Planning his life had gotten him nothing; a pointless job, a wife who had so much contempt for him she could walk out without a word… without an argument… without a head’s up…
There was no sense in remaining the Andrew Barker he had been. The man who planned, the man who used reason; let him be Tommy, the free spirit. Tommy who ….
Tommy who bought a sweet car that was hard to drive for one hundred miles.
Mixing the Tommy with the Andrew he drove aimlessly.
He didn’t want to spend more than a night in a Motel. He’d learned by error that the car acted up after four hours. He learned, by error, that check out at most Motels was 12 pm.
He was learning his endurance, his comfort, as if exploring a new planet.
In the strong car he could drive, and when he came to a town, for he was trying to avoid cities as he’d always lived in a city, he’d pull into a service station, gas, oil, battery check, then walk around, maybe eat.
He’d push himself to the point he would check into a Motel, washing his clothes, hang them to dry, then bathe, and sleep. He’d sleep for about ten hours because he was that tired.
When he woke, whether he went to sleep at 2 pm or 4 pm or even 6 pm, (for he didn’t check into a Motel until just past noon) He’d wake at some point between 2 am and 4 am, get his clothing, pack his bag, then get something to eat.
As he was following a trucker’s route, there were all night diners. He’d eat, relax, then get back on the road.
He had no idea where he was, where he was going. He just was going.