Writer’s Workshop: The Long Way Home

I didn’t drive until I was 28, which meant I was dependent on public transit, taxis, or other people to pick me up and get me places. If I was out somewhere at night, I would have to make sure to get to the end of the Evanston CTA line (now the Purple line) before 1 AM, or there were no taxis available and my stepfather would have to get up and drive over and get me.

One Saturday, I was told that there would be no one at home to get me if I got to the train station too late to get a taxi, so I had better be sure to watch my time. Needless to say, while I left my girlfried’s house in plenty of time to make all my connections, the CTA was less than cooperative, and I managed to get to the train station a little too late to get a taxi.

As I was standing outside, wondering what the hell I was going to do, a friend of mine came bopping out of the station. Thinking I could get a ride with whoever was picking him up, I asked how he was getting home. "I’m gonna walk," he said.

I balked at the idea: I had been up early to work, had been on my feet all day, was still dressed for work, and while my date had been good, I was very tired and had to be up by 10 the next morning (Sunday) so I could get to work by noon the next day. But, I reasoned, I really didn’t have much choice, and besides, I had a full pack of cigarettes….

So, we set off, not going too fast, but not dawdling, either. We had one of those long, rambling, philosophical discussions along the way, the kind 19-year-old boys have when it’s very late and they have to walk home. We got to where he had to go one way and I had to go another, said goodbye and parted company. I finally walked in the door of my house at a little after 3 AM, went to bed and right to sleep.

I got up the next morning and Mom was furious. "And just where the hell were you until 3 AM?" I said, "well, you said there’d be no one to give me a ride if I missed the taxis, so I walked home."

Suddenly, I was her poor child. "Oh, honey, are you all right? You must be exhausted. Why don’t you take the day off today?" As tempting as it was, I needed the money. So I got dressed, walked to work (a little over a mile), was on my feet all day, then walked home.

Now I was tired. My stepfather said that he measured the distance I had walked, and came up with just under six miles. And I realized, walking with someone at 2 AM and having a long discussion isn’t really all that bad.

Not that I was willing to do it any time soon after that.

20 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: The Long Way Home

  1. Great story. I guess I don’t like long walks anymore unless they’re on a sandy beach. “Take the long way home” is one of my happy-songs. I finally bought the CD a few years ago –for my husband. He never played it, so I took it. Now I’m the one who never plays it. (One of us needs to replace a CD player!)


        1. There are lots of ways of copying the music from YouTube or Spotify to an MP3 that you can include in your own playlists. I have a program called Audio Hijack that records the song off the sound card while you’re playing it. There are also programs (4K Youtube to MP3) that will record direct from YouTube. Again, for personal use ONLY! Kind of like recording off the radio in the olden days…

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I really miss taking long walks. I did it all the time back in my youth — sometimes alone, sometimes with a friend; occasionally with a destination, but usually not — and walks of six or eight miles were not unusual. If I was alone, it gave me a chance to think and to observe; if I was with a friend, it gave us a chance to talk uninterrupted and undistracted. I believed then, and still believe now, that a long, leisurely walk with someone is one of the best ways to get to know them.


    1. I’ve taken a few memorable walks, at least one of which was getting lost (I was in Seattle and walking along the shore of Puget Sound). Now that I need assistance to get anywhere, I really miss them, but I have the memory of them to fall back on.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve walked home before but only a mile. I was stuck many times with my cat but, being a girl in the country and it’s 3 in the morning, I was not going to walk 10 miles. I gad yo knock on a door….that place was scary…I thought I was going to meet the chainsaw. Rural people can be….different. I called my parents and they came and got me. Great tune.


  4. what a great memory. that walk and talk with your friend is really special and I’m guessing if you had walked by yourself that you wouldn’t have quite the same positive memory of that night.

    Liked by 2 people

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