At lunch time today I had to run some errands, one of which took me to an area of town I don’t usually frequent. I don’t live or work there; my friends and family don’t live there; and most of the services of which I avail myself are either not located there, or there comparable ones closer to home.

And at one point, as I was stopped at a red light, I was looking around and remembered when I think was the last time I was there. In front of me was a plaza, and sure enough, there was the Tim Horton’s — where I’d spent a good chunk of a rainy Saturday morning babysitting my brother’s (again) broken-down car and waiting for the tow truck driver to arrive so I could give him instructions on where to take the car, and, of course, pay him.

It was an awful day in an awful weekend in a string of awful I’d lost count of. Right in the middle of the worst of times with my brother, when I was constantly worried about his mental state, hemorrhaging money, and trying to juggle my own life and repair his while trying to come to grips with the fact that my relationship was no longer even under circling the drain status anymore.

I should have been sitting there at that red light looking calmly backward. Breathing in peace and gratitude. Just out at lunch time running some errands. Sitting in my new car, with my new job and apartment and cat and a whole lot of experience behind me. And seeing my family in a couple of days and observing my brother’s new life and job and apartment and car and girlfriend and baby and the worst nightmare (hopefully) of his life well behind him.

But that didn’t happen. While sitting there I was back there. I was driving to that plaza, where I’d never been before. To get that old white car towed again. To pour in more money and pray that it would last just long enough, but not having the slightest clue how long “long enough” was going to be.

And when the light changed to green, my foot hit the gas hard enough that the tires spun on the sand and salt on the road. And when I finished my errands and headed back to work, I passed that plaza again and closed my left eye so I couldn’t see it. I guess sometimes there is nothing to be gained from looking back at the past. Memories can be just plain bad. Whatever there was to learn has been learned, and the best you can do is keep far enough ahead that you finally know how long “long enough” is.

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