The car rental clerk didn't know Amherst, but he suggested the turnpike in a vague hand-waving, eye-rolling kind of way that gave us little confidence in his mumbled directions. The guard at the exit booth suggested the turnpike because it has better signs, although he didn't know Amherst, either.
We didn't take their advice. But you see, we didn't really know where Amherst was besides somewhere near Oberlin.
"It isn't far away," Trudy said.
"So which way shall we drive?" I asked.
"North," she said.
So we got off the freeway and drove into Oberlin from one side, past Tappan Square, half expecting to see Ben as we drove thru campus, and back into the darkness out the other side of town.
We passed farmhouses and fields and barns with cold farmyard lights on poles. The road turned this way and that. We drove long enough to begin suspecting we weren't going north, anymore. And then we came upon a sign that said we were going SOUTH. So we turned around.
"I could call the hotel," Trudy said.
"You have their phone number!?" I shrieked partly in frustration but mostly in joy ... although to be honest I don't think I communicated the joy part very well.
"Eight miles north of Oberlin on 58," the hotel clerk said.
So we drove back into Oberlin, past Tappan Square again, this time not particularly thinking about Ben as we drove thru campus, and turned on 58.
Seven miles later, we drove under the turnpike with a large, well-lit sign pointing south to Oberlin and north to Amherst.
If only we had followed those guys' advice.
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