Tag Archives: road trip

The Road (A Random Entry)

5 Jul

I haven’t written in a bit. I have a list of stories to write about and some drafts started but then I found this. I had written it a few years ago as a release of some sort. It wasn’t about any event or person in particular. I think it was after my tour, when I had just come back from experiencing the desert. It was just a short story about a girl and the road.

And there it was. The bluest sky she had ever seen. The emptiest place she had ever been. The loneliest feeling she had ever known. She paused, foot pressed lightly against the brake. Her hands gripped the steering wheel. She could feel the cool leather under her burning fingertips. She took a breath and felt the burn of the desert air in her throat. She closed her eyes and everything flashed before her against the dark lids. Flashes of color like when you press your hands hard against your eyes. Bursts like fireworks. They formed into visions and scenes from the past few days.

She saw him. She felt him. She closed them tighter, trying to squeeze him out but instead it only intensified the image. She heard the words, felt the slap. She saw herself making the realization. Then packing. Then slamming the door. She smiled at herself remembering she hadn’t even taken a moment to look back and survey the carnage.

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Now she opened her eyes slowly. She was still sitting in her car on the road. The empty road that lead to nowhere. A surge of emotion hit her. She had never been alone in her entire life. This was the moment people talk about when they leave their lives behind. The epitome they have when they realize they only have themselves. Where you know you don’t ever really know anybody. You can never trust anyone. Where you realize your heart is yours again. And she screamed.

She screamed so loud she thought he would hear her from five states away. Part of her wanted him to. To hear her cry of anguish and pain and victory and freedom and come running to save her. To be the man he was. The man she wanted. Then she stopped. Her mouth hanging open, gasping for breath, she lay her forehead against the wheel. She felt the sobs coming. She gasped and panted and moaned. She hit the wheel with her palms and kept on yelling. The curses flew. She felt her stomach twist and turn. She let the sobs keep coming. How did she get here? She had to go back. She would just hit reverse and turn around and knock on their door and beg forgiveness. After all, it was her fault.

She was too difficult. She asked too many questions. She was insecure and she let that get in her way of letting him love her. Letting him in and letting him protect her. She should have trusted him more. Let him hold her more. Listened when he told her she was acting crazy. She shouldn’t have bothered him so much. Pushed him away.

                Wait.

“What the fuck?” She sat up. She opened her mouth again but this time laughter came out. And it filled her entire body. She let it shake her and control her. For once, her smile felt good, natural. Not forced. She laughed. How the fuck could she think it was her fault? Was this a moment of madness? She was so clear when she ran. She knew she had to leave to get rid of the rock that was turning into a mountain that had taken residence in her stomach. The mountain that wouldn’t let her sleep or eat for days at a time. The mountain that looked like a face that she woke up to every morning, watched every day, fell asleep to every night. A face she questioned constantly and even when rewarded with an answer, it was never satisfying. It was never the truth. So she laughed.

“God, what a fucking idiot.” She was speaking of herself. Then she laughed that she was talking to herself. “This is what happens when you leave everyone behind. I am my own best friend.” Not bad company, she thought. Then she stopped for a moment. She had forgotten that she was great. She had forgotten who she was without him. She didn’t even know who she was anymore.

 She stared back at the road. Perhaps this was a beginning of a new friendship. She stared at the hard blacktop and realized this was the first moment since she had driven away that she had thought of anything. She had gotten in the car and gone. Just drove to nowhere. She took random exits, following the signs that said west. And here she was in the desert. She always read and heard about people finding themselves in the west. Isn’t that where everyone went in books and movies? The wicked witch found her place there…and her death…not the best example. Of course her pigment was a natural peach and she had no desire for ruby red slippers (although that would be an improvement to her current wardrobe). She looked down at herself and laughed at the fact she was wearing sweatpants and her ratty Zeppelin shirt. She had been wearing this outfit for four days straight. She didn’t even dare look in the mirror but she felt the wind in her hair and half imagined it filled it with sand and grit, making her filthy and caked with grime. She liked the feeling.

                The road still stared back. Then it spoke to her.

“I am open, endless, free. I am your answer. I am everyone’s answer. I am unforgiving. I am mysterious. I am a liar and sometimes a cheat. I give time and I take time. But I will never let you down. I will only lead you onward. That is a promise.”

I am talking to a road, she thought. Great. However she found the road had more personality than those she had left behind. She glanced at the passenger seat and saw her phone blinking again. 14 messages. She assumed they were from him. Of course, they could be from the girls she was supposed to be having dinner with the previous night. Or her boss. Probably her boss. She should have called. No, she shouldn’t have. That wouldn’t be leaving the way she wanted.

She wished for a destination. She always heard New York City was where people went to follow dreams and when they were homeless and alone. But she wanted sun. She wanted California. That name just seemed magical to her. Perhaps her passion for the 60’s drew her there. She grabbed one of her duffel bags and pulled out her CD holder. She flipped through until she found the Beatles. She placed the CD into the slot and turned it up. Then she took her foot off the brake. The car began to roll slightly. She pressed it back down heavily, yanked the car into park, and cranked the dial again. She opened the door, jumped out and stood there on her friend, the road. She felt the heat of the sun and lifted her arms up as if offering herself to the sky. And she screamed again. Not in panic or pain but in pure victory. And then she danced. She felt the song and it made her chest ache with memories and pleasure. She danced in circles. Pounding the pavement, doing pinwheels, laughing and singing. She pretended she was the girl they were singing about. She was the face he had just seen and she was the girl like no other. And maybe she was. The chords faded out and the next song came on.

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“Nothing’s gonna change my world,” she whispered. She laughed. She was destroying her world and actually living in someone’s else. Or everyone else’s. The big world. She had left her bubble and taken her broomstick and flown west. And now she was here, standing in the desert, dancing to the Beatles.

It’s funny to take yourself back years ago. Mostly you go back to your childhood or another time when you were stressed and freaked out over something small and think “Shit, who would have thought I would be lead here in this moment?” You have plans for yourself but rarely that is what actually happens. Usually it’s a different version of the play you write for yourself. And here she was, starring in the epic journey of another brokenhearted dreamer.

She got back in the car and a new song began. Hard guitar, angry vocals, perfect. She shut the door, pressed the brake, and put the car back in drive. She took a breath. A real deep breath and let it fill her whole body with the dirt from the air and the sun from the sky. Her skin tingled with the heat. She stared back at the road and thought, “Ok, here we are, you told me the truth and now I expect you to keep your promise. You lead.” She took her foot off the brake and began to drive. Still, even with her eyes open, she could still see his mouth. The mouth she longed to kiss and could still imagine how it tasted. She licked her lips and tried to erase the salty cigarette taste she remembered. Maybe she could keep that one memory…just that one…

                She let the road lead on….

 

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The Road Trip From Hell

31 Aug

Alia’s bridal shower was in May of 2011 and Rachel and I were, happily, both able to attend. We planned on making a whole weekend out of it and having super fun times. Rachel would take the bus from New York to Boston, I would pick her up, and we’d have a fun-and-girl-talk filled road trip to the great state of VT. Also, there would be snacks.

I left work early that Friday (with Mr. Louis in tow) to meet Rachel at South Station in Violet the Versa (my car that I’d bought brand-spanking new 7 months earlier). I should preface the rest of this story by letting you all know that I have a TERRIBLE sense of direction. Absolutely terrible. If I’m following directions telling me to head north on Main St., etc., I will actually pull out the compass on my phone to find north. When I’m visiting my parents, who still live in the same town that I grew up in, I have to ask my mom how to get to the mall. I once got horribly lost in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and ended up in a dark, scary hallway where the administrative offices are located.  I’m a mess. Also, at the time of this road trip, I did not own either a GPS or a smartphone. I have since invested in both. Well, more of a two-in-one deal. I digress.

I knew how to get to South Station, since it has its own exit off the Mass Pike, but from there I was just going to wing it. I knew there were a bunch of different highway entrances around South Station; with Rachel as my co-navigator, I was sure we’d easily find a sign leading us to I-93 north. Boy, was I ever wrong.

This was my first time driving downtown and it was much more confusing than I’d imagined. Damn you, Boston, and your one way streets! First, we could not find 93 north. There were entrances to the Pike and 93 south, but no north. We circled around the same intersection twice before we finally saw a sign…at the end of one of the infmaous one way streets.  So, we circled the opposite direction, of course hitting every red light, and finally made it. The on-ramp to 93 north was just up ahead…we were so close! And then: disaster struck. And by disaster, I mean a small, unapologetic, Asian man with limited English skills in his beat up old car. And by struck, I mean he literally struck my car with his car. He had been parked on the side of the road when I turned on to the street, with no blinker on indicating that he was doing anything other than sitting. However, right as I was driving by him, he decided to pull away, sharply, from the curb. He basically turned left into my car, clearly not checking his blind spot or even really looking where he was going. The collision made a HORRIBLE noise. I was so surprised at what happened that I did not immediately stop driving. I’m pretty sure I asked Rachel if that guy had just hit us, to which she replied affirmatively. Before this, I had never been in an accident where another car was involved (I had knocked the sideview mirror off of a Zipcar once, but that resulted from a collision with a wall…inside of a ferry…but that’s a story for another day).

The rest of what happened was a blur. I pulled over and Rachel and I both exited the car through the driver’s side door- the passenger side door was no longer an option. It’s a good thing she’s tiny and a good crawler. I somehow managed to do everything I needed to (made sure we were not injured, got the guy’s registration and insurance information, called the police), but the whole time all that was running through my head was “my brand new car!!!”. Rachel said I remained super calm and collected through the whole thing…so I guess I do ok in a minor crisis, which is good to know. Thank goodness Rachel was there with me. She took pictures of the car and got information from a witness who had been walking down the street- and ended up saving me from having to pay my insurance deductible! The insurance company of the guy who hit me of course tried to blame the accident on me, which is totally ridiculous. Rachel also ran down the street to retrieve my hubcap, which had popped off during the incident.

After information was exchanged, we had to find a police station, as I had been advised to go pick up an accident report. The woman I had spoken with on the phone gave me the address of the closest one, which was near Government Center, but I of course had no idea where the specific street was. So, instead of asking for directions, I just started driving. Rachel tried to look the address up on her phone, but it tried to send us to Middleborough. Wrong city, Google Maps. Nice try, though. We followed the signs for Government Center. I somehow thought calling my ex-boyfriend for directions would help. It did not. I was a little frazzled. Then, magically, we happened upon the street! It was a miracle. We then parked illegally in front of the police station (not the smartest choice, I know, but parking in downtown Boston is hard!!!) and ran inside for an accident report. The officer working at the front desk was VERY helpful AND there was an entrance for 93 north right behind the police station! Hurray! We were (finally) on our way.

Thankfully, the rest of our trip was uneventful, except for the crazy rain storm that forced me to slow to a crawl on the highway. Not being able to see out of your windshield is not conducive to driving.

Violet the Versa ended up having to have both passenger side doors replaced, her frame was bent, and there were issues with one of the wheels (I think). She was in the shop for a month. A whole month! But, she was just like new when I got her back, and I haven’t been downtown since.

That’s a lovely scrape on the ruined passenger side door. Sigh.

Song of the Day: I’m in Love with my Car by Queen