March 24, 2005

The Couple in the RV

When they were younger they traveled from continent to continent by boat and plane and jeep. They did missionary work, they helped build native houses, he taught irrigation, she taught sanitation. During furloughs they explored the deep bush and the seashore, until their child drowned in an undertow. Then they flew straight back to Denver.

They stopped traveling. He took an office job with a church group, she stayed home with no child to care for. For five years she never left the house.

After a while he had to get back on the road. He took a few solo trips with just the car and a sleeping bag and one propane burner. But who would get her prescriptions at the pharmacy? Who would do the grocery shopping?

Finally he bought an RV and said he was going to travel the whole U.S. Was she coming or staying?

She packed their things and arranged the interior of the RV just the way she wanted it. She climbed inside and stayed in the living quarters, and he did all the driving. They drove through forty–nine states and Canada.

She cooks, makes the beds, and keeps the place spotless while he hikes. He tells her all the things he sees on the trail, so it’s just like she’d been there.

At the gas stations he buys supplies. When he grills outdoors, he makes a plate for her and climbs into the RV to serve it. She spends most of the day in a housecoat, but changes into slacks and a sweater at about four. He trims her hair with a scissors every other month. He bought a manicure/pedicure kit online and has learned to use it. Evenings they spend watching TV inside. Later, when she’s asleep, he steps out quietly and watches the stars.

They have never talked about it. He does what he has to, and she does what she can. If they get angry at each other, they never let it show.

He thinks he does it because he likes to travel. If you told him he does it out of love, he would stop and try to think about it, but give up and go on.