We buried her uncle in Phoenix, as the saying goes. A memorial service for Roger, the favorite, cremated and sealed in a vault. There were palm trees and Canada geese and cousins galore, an avalanche of emotion for the love of my life. On the way home we learned that another uncle had died, this one the last, up in Iowa. Of Tom it is said he survived World War II but not Shirley.
On the first leg of the trip we bivouacked in Holbrook. The wifi worked not, there were freight trains all night, and we threw the free breakfast away. I confronted the manager who’s probably dead now. (When I checked out I saw she’d been crying.) Uncles, motels, so much wreckage and blame.
On the way back near Gallup a Hampton Inn beckoned. The staff were all Natives and lifted the place. The decor was healthy and did not offend. The room was attractive and calm. After all we’d been through, mostly all right but exhausting, it felt like a home to us just for one night. We stood there in shock with our bags on the floor, grateful but mortal and done. I remembered my wife in the car, counting the years between her and her uncles. Surely it’s not over yet, but those numbers, my God. She was so happy the room was so nice. I hugged her and thought of how fleeting it was and I cried.