I have taken solitary steps in despair on a path that I never forsaw myself traveling down. Through this journey I have learned to mend hearts and clear heads, although I don’t believe a heart is ever truly healed. There will always be a scar, that trace of pain that eludes reparation as evidence that at one point in time, love existed, whether it be familial or romantic. They say time heals all wounds but time only masks the intensity of emotion that once charged ever molecule of your being. Pain becomes increasingly more of a dull ache as a reminder of memories that have long passed and moments that will never be. What is born out of this pain is what matters. Loss is what gives life meaning and purpose. From these tragedies in our lives we become different people. We think differently, we love differently, we are opened up to a new way of existence. You can inevitably go two ways with who you decide to become from these experiences of tormentous loss. Some people choose to make the conscious decision that love is not worth this degree of pain. They believe they are saving themselves but quite often our own defense mechanisms are our downfall. You will stop seeing the world for what it truly is. We may live in a world of cruelty, hatred, and sorrow but we also live in a world overrun by acceptance, love, and tremendous beauty. Myself, as an individual, could never begin to imagine a world where I couldn’t feel the love and support that surrounded me. This is where I choose to grow from my pain. I was told once that “I am becoming”. I am always changing into a better version of myself. I choose to love without hesitance and extend myself to those who need me. I harbor hope that love is the reason for living in such a seemingly dark existence. Although I have been cast aside in anguish and tribulation, I rise from the ashes more enduring and unyielding. You will not take my hope from me, nor my love. These determinations are my salvation. I wake up every morning and I know that it will be a good day because it will be a day where love exists in everything that I will do. It is my foundation that grounds me and no matter how life twists and turns and who it takes from me, I will only grow stronger in my love.
I think of these things as I drive down the road, behind the wheel of my midnight black, 2014 Chevrolet Corvette. I grip the wheel, my mind barely on the road but I’ve driven this way so many times before, I truly don’t have to think much but it’s my lifesaver since my mind is always wandering, especially lately. Another heartache, another pain to over come in my life but I know I will, I always have. I decide to pick up something to eat, I deserve it after the hell I only just went through last week and nothing says comfort to me quite like taco bell. Sure it might upset my stomach later from time to time but the comfort I get when consuming those delicious, addicting tacos is well worth it. Maybe it upsets our stomach because it’s so good, life has a way of only giving good if it comes with a little bad. Maybe humans didn’t have the capacity to appreciate good without a little pain and that’s why life was the way it was.
My mind snaps back into place as I pull in to the only Taco Bell located in this tiny town i’m passing through. Only 12 more hours of driving and I’ll finally arrive at my solitude. That safe haven has been in the family for generations, a small cabin in the middle of no where. Perfect for a timely escape. I’m just lucky I am in the line of work to afford mental health vacations. After my last huge project I was able to accumulate a pretty penny. My newest investigative piece will just have to wait. His face flashes through my mind, I shake it off. He’s the last person I want to see right now, no matter how much I wish I could. I can feel my chest caving in, like a vortex of anguish that won’t release me. Food, I need food, and maybe a drink. Too bad this is a dry county. I guess I’ll just have to wait. The burn of that sweet bourbon tempts me to skip the food and drive straight to the cabin, but I know I don’t need to be driving all night on an empty stomach and the road only becomes more desolate as I drive further and further up the mountain. It’s now or never. I decide to walk inside and take a break from the road. It’ll only add time but I need to stretch my legs and give myself a moment to abandon thought. As I walk in a see an older gentlemen look me over, men. Maybe I should just become a lesbian… yeah right. I remember as I’m standing in line that I had forgotten to text Ashley. I decide it’s better to do it now in case I have no service at the cabin.
“Hey, I’m about 12 hours away, stopped to grab a bite to eat and take a break. Thank you for the shoulder this week. If I have service I will call you when I reach the cabin. If I don’t I’ll make sure to run into town the next day to keep you updated. Love you!”
Part of me is praying for service when I arrive and the other part of me is longing for the disconnect. I need time to go inside my mind and figure out what I need to do and what it will take to get there. I wish she could have come with me but she has already seen me cry too much this past week. I’m thankful she was there for me when I was crumbling into a million pieces. She has always been there, I hope I’m as good of a friend as she is.
I step up and order my usual, keeping it light and simple. Bathrooms aren’t easy to come by in this neck of woods. I grab the hottest sauce I can find and hope the physical pain can mask the emotional pain, even for just a bit. It may be nonsensical but it made sense at the moment. I eat slow, enjoying not focusing on the road. Eventually, I admit to myself that it’s time to go and I try and energize and cheer myself up as I walk back to the car. It’s a little chilly out for this time of year but the nip of the wind wake me up. Only 12 more hours until my salvation. Time to get going.
I turn on the radio, planning to enjoy it while I still have it. Eventually I’ll need my CD’s. Some of my friends tease me for owning them but this trip is what I keep them for. If I bowed to social pressures and got rid of them just because it made a few giggle I’d have nothing to listen to eventually. It also wasn’t like they were trying to make me feel weird, most of them anyway. All too often people hurt others unintentionally, not thinking about how self conscious one little comment can make you feel. It’s why I try to be a self aware person. I’m far from perfect, I’m sure I too hurt my friends unintentionally but I do try my best and I hope they all know that, especially Ashley.
I check my phone again at the thought of her “I love you too, please be safe!” Of course, as always her mind is on my well being but I still can’t help this hope of not having service at all to give me the complete out from society for a little bit. Two hours into the trip the radio is starting to break here and there so I pull off the road and find a CD to push into the player before resuming my drive. There isn’t much traffic down this way but I’d still rather be safe than sorry later when stopping wont consume much of my time.
I’m sure many people involved with hitting a person or large animal spend many nights up, wishing they had been just a little more careful. The CD I choose is from AFI because their music perfectly fits this mood I’m in. I find it helps me work through emotions if the music fits my mood but most would say that. Music is a magic I find myself thankful for all the time, especially when I’m unhappy.
I turn off my inside lights and stow away my thoroughly worn 10 year old CD case. As the music starts, I close my eyes and allow myself to get in tune with the music and sync up with my mood. When I open my eyes, ready to hit the road, I am surprised to see headlights coming my way. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, it’s not like this road is never used, but it startles me all the same. I start the car back up and wait for the car to pass so I can get back on the road. It’s a two lane but like I said before I prefer to be more cautious than not. As the vehicle draws near it starts to slow. I can’t make out the make or model but I can tell it’s an older model truck. The mysterious truck stops right next to me and I can see them rolling down their window. It’s probably just a good semaritan making sure that I am OK, i’m glad there are still good people in this world. I roll my window down as well to affirm that I’m fine but I can’t see anyone inside the truck, it’s too dark.
“You all right Miss?”
The voice is rough and low and I notice a slight uneasiness run through me. It’s dark and quiet and I’m probably just being paranoid.
“Yes, thank you. I just pulled off the side of the road for a moment to do something, I’m perfectly all right! Thank you for checking up on me, I’ll be going now.” I can barely make out a bearded figure but the rest of his face is covered by a low ball cap. I begin to roll up my window but the stranger begins to speak and I don’t want to come off as rude or ungrateful for the concern.
“Are you sure you’re alright to drive? It’s getting pretty late and I’m sure you’re awful tired. I could always follow you home and make sure you get there safe.”
My mental alarms starts to go off when he mentions following me home, but again, I’m sure I’m just being paranoid and he is just a local who is used to knowing everyone around here.
“No thank you, I’m wide awake and I don’t live close. Have a good night.”
This time I don’t stop rolling up my window and keep my eyes forward on the road as I put my car in drive. I pull back onto the road and begin my journey once again. I glance in my rear view mirror and notice that the truck still hasn’t moved from his place on the road.
“Is he watching me drive away?” I ask myself, beginning to get aggravated. I pick up my speed and focus on putting as much distance between the stranger and myself. Before too long his lights have faded into the distance and I am alone once more, a feeling I find way too much comfort in.
This music now doesn’t fit my mood but I wont change it, not until theres much more distance between myself and that man. He truly could of had the purest of intentions but something in my gut had started screaming when he wanted to follow me and at this point, I need to start letting my gut decide more things. Maybe if I listened to the pit of my stomach more I wouldn’t have so many poor decisions in my past. Another hour gone and I finally decide to try the radio, maybe I’ll have signal for even the briefest amount of time. It plays but nothing good so I may venture to pull over again soon. I finally affirm to myself I’ll stop the next time I see a bathroom. If I’m going to stop anyway I may as well insure I don’t have to run off and pee in the woods somewhere.
It’s so dark out here, there’s no more street lights, only the moon, stars and my headlights show me anything at all so chances were if I ran into someone else unsettling, I wouldn’t see them coming. My mind wanders to a time people would have only had the stars and moon to light their way. For many reasons way back when as most would call it enamors me. They lived without so much most now would panic without.