As I was planning my trip to visit Link, it crossed my mind how crazy it was to spend a whole day driving to Ohio, to only get to spend one day with Link, and then have to drive back home the next day. Oh, the things I’ll do for my kids.
Well really, this was for ME. Oh, the things I’ll do for ME.
Amp mentioned a while back he might be interested in going with me. I should’ve known that’s 17 year old male talk for “I wanna go! Please? Please?” He set up camp in the backseat of the car – computer , phone, nifty new pens, sketch pad – and made himself comfy while I drove.
At first I was disappointed that he was sitting behind me. This was supposed to be our one-on-one time! But I was pleasantly surprised at how much he was willing to talk and share! The drive seemed to fly by!
After settling into the hotel, we hunted down an ice cream store and spent the rest of the evening resting up for the big day.
Since we weren’t allowed to be at Link’s apartment until 11:30 AM, (he’s not very proud of his roommate), I started off my day with a run in the city.
Amp and I still had time to kill afterwards, so we scoped out an office supply furniture store to take Link to later, and we hit up a used book store for some ‘new’ reading material.
Finally we were allowed to head over. I can’t describe how good it was to see him. He proudly showed us around his place. Amp excitedly checked out the posters and his latest comic book series (he’s always been Link’s biggest fan). We headed upstairs to his friends’ apartment where he spends most of his time. They’d ‘cleaned’ the places up for us, but I didn’t dare use either restroom.
After completing some necessary paperwork to officially cut his ties from Mom and Dad, we headed out to the fave pizza place. I took in every word, every smile, every THING. Then we headed out to explore his home town. Amp wanted to sit in back with Link. In between giving driving directions to me, they jabbered on to each other about the different projects they’ve worked on – homemade videos, drawings, etc, – they discussed in great detail different movies they’ve seen, and they practiced their character voices, cracking each other up along the way. Again, I took it ALL in.
He took us to the school he’ll no longer attend. Then he took us to his place of work where we happened to meet up with his friends on their lunch break. In the short ten minutes we were there, I knew why Link likes them so much. And seeing them interacting with Link warmed my heart. These were his buds. They were the ones who rescued him from this small town, pulled him out of his misery, and gave him reason to get up in the morning. I managed to control my tears. They wouldn’t have understood.
All too soon, the day came to an end. At least MY day came to an end. While visiting Link’s workplace, his friends mentioned they wanted to go out after work. By out, they meant out to eat, and then home again for some game time. Link invited Amp to hang out with them and assured me he’d have him “home” at a decent hour. I headed back to the hotel alone, but not disappointed. My heart was full of joy. After all my years of worrying, I finally knew Link was going to be okay.
I couldn’t head back to Illinois without seeing him one more time, however. So Link graciously woke up early to go out for breakfast with us. We enjoyed a final meal of pancakes, and once again, I took everything in hoping to carry it all back home with me.
As we hugged goodbye, I could feel how happy he was that I’d come to visit. He promised he’ll either be out for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Then he and Amp hugged and expressed how much fun they’d had together.
As we pulled away, Amp proclaimed, “He seems happy.”
Yes he does. Yes. He. Does.