The Self Leader Secret
Side Road – part 1 of 11
Taillights, like columns of red ants extended into the pre-dawn gloom. A grey, mist stretched across the freeway. I turned on the radio. “Hey Gang, it’s Crazy Bill and Weird Phil, with the latest traffic report. There’s a roll over accident on the 412 at the Green Street Bridge. It seems a tanker truck hit a flatbed loaded with live chickens. Woo wee you guys on the southbound freeway are out of luck this morning, or should I say out of ‘cluck'”!
The tension ball that lived in the back of my neck tightened. I shook my head. Why do I listen to those two nuts? I flipped on my blinker and eased towards the nearest exit. From the far side of the road a brightly colored sign invited me to ‘Visit Blooming Bud, the Nation’s Premier Art Colony‘. It must be nice to live like that; no lawyers to answer to, just work on your art. I smoothed the pleats in my grey wool skirt. For years I had wanted to see that place but something else or someone else always got in the way. I picked up my cell phone to call the office. It was only 6:45 and the company wasn’t open yet, but the answering service would deliver the message.
“You have reached the law offices of Riley, Stoner and Burns, for whom would you like to leave a message.”
“Grace Riley, please. This is Emy Burns; I’m a paralegal with the firm. Tell her that I am just sick about this. I’ll try the best I can to make it in today but right now I am all messed up in…”
“Alright Ms. Burns, I’ll tell Ms. Riley that you are ill. I hope you feel better. Will that be all?”
I LIED TO THE OFFICE? I can’t believe I lied to the office. I stared at the phone for a minute wondering what to do. I had always been dependable. I really should correct this misunderstanding. I should call the service back and tell them. I moved over to the right lane and crept down the access road. At the bottom of the ramp, the road going into town choked on bumper-to-bumper traffic. To the right, the narrow road to Blooming Bud disappeared into a dense forest.
My parents visited the colony when it first opened about 12 years ago. They had wanted me to go with them that weekend, but Richard needed my help on a major case. If he did well on it he would make partner in the firm. I knew that Richard’s success was more important to my family’s future than an outing, so I stayed and helped him. The folks were disappointed, of course, they always encouraged me to pursue my artistic talents, but one must be practical. Mom cried when I gave up fine arts to pursue a paralegal degree.
Richard promised me that we would go to Blooming Bud later, after he had won the case, after he had become a partner, after he had accomplished some other goal. Everything would be fine. Everything would be great. I could quit work and concentrate on my pottery. He always promised, always, sometime in the future.