Nebraska suddenly seemed cold–frigid.
The meeting with Hector put a chill down Meningsbee’s spine, causing him to yearn for some warmth. He thought about sharing his dilemma with some folks he trusted in the congregation, but realized that there’s an assumption made in the human family–that even when a soul confesses, somehow or another he or she is withholding a portion of the story.
He felt trapped–squeezed into an ice box.
So he went to his house, grabbed a bunch of blankets, quickly packed a suitcase, stuck a variety of canned meats and beef jerky in his glove compartment, got into his car and headed out.
His choice for this particular retreat was south. He just wanted to drive until he could feel warm.
He journeyed for three days.
One night he stayed at a cheap motel in a town in Texas called Bullywok. Another night he used the blankets and slept in the back seat of his car at a rest area. And on a third evening, trying to pursue some personal discovery in his life, he checked into a YMCA to interact with other human beings and see what the experience might be like. (He found the Y rather pleasant except for being greatly unnerved by sharing a shower with other men.)
He drove and he drove until he landed somewhere in South Texas. The sun rose, and by ten o’clock in the morning, the air was warm enough for him to emerge from his car and walk around a local park in short sleeves.
He was so damn far away from Garsonville. But maybe he always had been. Maybe the idea of inserting himself into that small community was not only intrusive, but implausible.
It’s when your heart stands on the outside of your body and makes fun of you for believing you could make a difference.
During his journey, the fifth episode of “Gar-SIN-ville” aired. He watched it in a diner outside of El Paso.
He was surprised at how those enjoying their “blue plate specials” basically ignored the program as he listened carefully for the revelation of his hidden sin.
It was never mentioned.
He felt deeply foolish to have run away from his home town and his congregation simply because a scary man said “boo.”
He called back to the church and asked one of the deacons to handle Sunday service as he settled into Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, at a small motel that offered everything in miniature. Tiny towels, tiny bed, tiny service.
He didn’t care.
He just laid down on the small, uncomfortable single bed and stared at the ceiling.
Who in the hell was he…and why was he running?