, , , , , , , , ,

Another item I wrote over a year ago and recently found. There are only a few more of these, and then I will go back to writing new stuff. I had a bit of an accident last week and haven’t had much brain power since then. I’m healing, give me time…

When I was sixteen my brother, who was 22 or so at the time, worked for the newspaper and delivered the large amounts of newspapers to the stores that sell them in town. Kmart, 711, party stores, gas stations… where ever the order came from. The newspapers would come in large bundles that were heavy and hard to tote around. For a few months in the winter, my mom ended up taking over his route, for the extra cash, or because he needed help, or something. I’m not sure why. Every Sunday morning my mom would wake me up at 3am and we’d hit the road. It was one of those below-freezing winters, and the truck would never feel warm enough when we got in it. We’d bundle up in three pairs of pants, two t-shirts, a sweater, a hoodie and a winter coat. We’d have snow pants, three or four pairs of socks, and winter boots. Anything to stay warm.

Our first stop was the newspaper warehouse, the bundles would come out still warm from the press with the latest news. My mom and some of the workers would start piling it into the back of the chevy. With every bundle the truck would sink, lower and lower towards the concrete. By the time we had the entire shipment, the bed of the truck would be full, from top to bottom, and a few bundles would end up sitting up front with my mom and me. The truck would struggle to get up the hill to leave the warehouse and we’d putt down the road to our first stop: 711.

I would always buy the largest french vanilla cappuccino when we arrived, pop it into the cupholder and start unloading the first few bundles from the front seat. It was a large shipment, so my mom would open up the back and start pulling from there. Between the two of us we could unload quickly and efficiently.

We had to do about 12 stops. Kmart was the worst, took us almost an hour and we had to carry them in much further than the rest. After Kmart, we’d be exhausted and pushing for the end. I’d be whining and freezing, my mom would be hurting from the heavy lifting. However, by the time we were through with Kmart, we’d be awake and that was our time.

At sixteen I didn’t have a very loving relationship with my mom. We couldn’t see eye to eye on any aspect of life. We’d fight and slam doors, and I’d be grounded and she’d be giving me the silent treatment. It was pretty consistent under our roof, however Sunday mornings from 3 until 7 in the morning, we were best friends.

I’d tell her all about the guys I was interested in, and the latest drama at school. I’d tell her about the perverted looks our science teacher always gave to the girls who wore low cut shirts, and how he’d always put them in the front row. I told her about my first kiss, the time I snuck out and took her car, and about how much I felt she’d let people take advantage of her. She’d tell me stories of her ‘hayday’ and how crazy she’d been before she met my dad. She’d tell me little secrets about him and the early days of their relationship, she’d tell me about her thoughts on our family members.  For those months, in that truck, there wasn’t anything we couldn’t say. There wasn’t any judgment, any negative words, and our conversations never popped back up during the day. Neither one of us ever talked about our Sunday morning’s to our friends or my dad. Everyone wondered how we could work together while hating each other so much.

My mom and I look back now and laugh about it, and talk about how much we miss that awfully cold winter and sleep deprivation together. I’ll never understand what sort of phenomenon took place that caused us to get along so well on those days.

Our last stop was usually at 6:30. We’d get there and rush and rush to get it done as fast as possible. By that time we were beginning to fall back asleep and couldn’t feel our fingers and toes, but we had to work the hardest at that stop. If we took an extra two minutes, we wouldn’t make it home until eight. Right next to that stop was the train station, and the 7:00am train was a long one.

Only once or twice did we get stuck at that train. We’d turn the heat on high and put the truck in park at the tracks and sing, loudly, for a half an hour until that train would pass. We hated that train, that train, and that last stop, and those extra two minutes that caused the sleep deprivation hell that caused us to go insane for that half hour, but let me tell you, the rush of beating the clock always made our work a little more fun, and I think the rush of our secret friendship added a little bit to it as well.