“There is always a traffic jam in between New York and Boston.” Andrew Wilding drove the expensive foreign sedan through the slow-moving parking lot called Interstate 95 just north of the Merritt Parkway onramp.
“It is three in the morning, how can there be so much traffic on the road at this time?” Mary Wilding, Andrew’s wife of three years, shook her head in the passenger seat. They were driving back from JFK. She asked him to pick her up after she landed from Paris, a work trip. The company did not book her on to Boston. They figured it was a four-hour drive. Company policy was no flights for distances under six hours drive in normal traffic.
“Construction up ahead.” He nodded his head to the electronic map in the console near his knee.
“At three in the morning?” She sighed.
“There is always a traffic jam between New York in Boston.”
“That is why I prefer Amtrak. What is our ETA now?” she looked at her diamond-studded lady's wristwatch. It was a fashion piece, one of three she used for various occasions, jokingly calling this one her Eurozone watch.
“We are clearly delayed by over two hours, I think we will not be back until after five o’clock.” Andrew was exasperated. A truck driver, he rarely drove through Connecticut in his job, even his New York runs from home in Boston he went 90 west to just over the New York border and then headed south completely missing the southernmost New England state. He knew too well any other route risked exactly where they were now. He wished he heeded his own warning.
“I have to be at work at seven.” she let out an exasperated sigh.
“Can you call in sick?”
“And miss a day of work? No, I will make it through the day somehow.”
“You do get sick time.”
“And you get known as one who takes it. Rarely do those employees get a promotion.”
“They also live longer,” Andrew said under his breath.
“I hate traffic jams, they take control of your life and never give it back, probably because people have to stop and see an accident.”
“No, I told you, construction.”
“It does not matter, we are stuck here anyway. It is all just meaningless,” she said. “A waste of my time.”
“But what isn’t meaningless? It is all just life and life is meaningless,” he said, confirming her exasperation.
“That is unless we give it meaning.”
“Like in not calling in sick to get a promotion?”
“Yeah, and not losing your sanity to make it through a traffic jam at Thee A.M..”
“If there is no reason to keep your sanity?” Andrew said.
“Then going insane gives life meaning.” Mary laughed.
“My parochial school teachers would have bopped me over the head for thinking like that; maybe more so for that than I never went to mass after I graduated from there.” Andrew moved the car forward about ten feet and then stopped again.
“My friends hated parochial school, but then again I hated public school, at least we did not need to pass religion too.”
“Religion gives life meaning forever they taught us.”
“Ah,” Mary said. “Who has time for that? I want a promotion and that is the meaning of my life.”
“And a child will get in your way?” Andrew knew that this was not the time to bring it up. He said it anyway.
“How can I have a child, and build a fashion career? I can’t.”
“But how can I live my life and never have been a father.”
“Lots of men do it.”
“But not happily.”
“Men do not find happiness in children.”
“Well, where do they find it if they don’t find it having a son or daughter.”
“I don’t know, I am not a man.”
“I really want to have a child.” He turned to his wife, she was looking straight ahead to the virtually stopped traffic and the line of red lights that stretched over the horizon.
“We talked about this and I am not ready.” she continued looking ahead through the windshield.
“But what if you are never ready, I will never have a child.”
“But we will have so much more than a child.”
“A child will give life meaning.”
“There is no meaning to life, except what you give it, child or not.”
Andrew could feel himself growing angry, now was not the time, not here, not during a traffic jam, it would be a long two hours if he continued. “It is a women’s right to choose and a man’s duty to accept.” He surrendered.
“Of course, that is the way nature made man and woman.”
“They taught us differently in parochial school.”
“I did not go to parochial school. I would not know.”
Andrew left it at that, again. He was unable to go further, and just stopped in all his desire for life, a life he felt had no meaning.
It was always like this somewhere in between New York and Boston.
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