It’s always easier, he used to think, making the return trip; always easier driving or walking home even though the distance and the time spent en route is the same.
He reasoned that this was true because on the outbound journey one is usually filled either with eager anticipation or with dread—depending upon circumstances—and that these same feelings do not color the identical return voyage, do not provide the same elasticity to the hours and miles spent traveling.
He’d recognized this phenomenon long ago, and spent considerable time and effort to overcome it; had worked hard (usually with only limited success) to remember to appreciate every minute on the road, regardless of what destination lay ahead.
So when he traveled south toward their final parting and the hours spent behind the wheel seemed endless, he kept reminding himself to watch the clock and count the mile markers on the ride home so as to dispel any perception of inequality.
It was a pointless exercise.
He knew that, contrary to everything he’d hypothesized up until that day, everything would be completely reversed; that beginning with the moment he’d stepped away from her grave, every day would be longer than the last.