A few months had passed since I have left home. A discarded cell phone left ringing at the bottom of a rest stop trash can and the keys to a beaten ’91 Haritage Softail Harley rest in my hands as I waited for the check at a diner.
“Pay at the register, sweetheart.”
The waitress in a pinstriped dress with a white apron handed me the black book showing my dues for a plate of French fries and a coke. I responded with a smile and a nod but sat silently. I only spoke when I needed to. I did plenty of talking within my thoughts
At this point I wasn’t sure if I would ever head home. Each moment I was certain about polar opposite decisions. Being adamant with each only proved my indecisiveness.
I walked to cash rep and handed the lady my check with a twenty. Her mind was focused on each note, counting and recounting each dollar as if linen in the bills were silk. On the counter stacked postcards within a rack, one of which read “Crossroads of America.” I held it in my hand for only a moment. The edges were worn and the photo was faded from the southward facing windows.
“Take the postcard, they don’t sell anyways.”
“Thank you.” –I said, with a mediocre grin
Writing a note on the back would defeat the entire purpose of running away so I kissed it for good luck, which left a red lip stain in the musk back. I then tucked it in my leather jacket and took off on my bike.
I’ve been in this small Midwestern town for four days. People are starting to recognize me as an outsider. Tomorrow I will head out to avoid small talk and questions about who I am and where I am from.
Driving back to the motel I looked at the sun falling behind the clouds, a storm is coming. The sky turned a greyish green and the atmosphere was still. Not a person is out of their home and not a soul is traveling on the road. It’s just me trying to outrun the lightening, a race against the squall.
My room at the motel is on the bottom floor, making the second story a canopy from the falling drops of water. I pulled a fold out chair outside and listened to the pouring rain as a curiously stared at the “Crossroads of America” postcard that was gifted to me. The lipstick stain remained on the back as the senders address was left blank.
At this moment I thought about home. I thought about each person that was left behind and the reasons for that. Mostly, I thought about the friendships I replaced with lonesome days following the backs of cars on the open road. In this moment I thought about how selfish I was to leave. Regret left me slightly discouraged to continue on my journey.
I continued to stare at the blank address space. I thought if only there was a way to move forward without holding on to my past, but most importantly allow them to forget about my past.
I kissed the postcard again for good luck and got back on my bike, an exhilarating feeling driving in the pouring rain. This trip wasn’t intended to be long, just back to town. The sleek roads occasionally made my tired skid, but that did not stop me from accelerating my speed.
When I had reached a blue mailbox and held the handle for some time while nervously tapping the card with my other hand on my left leg.
I got back on bike even though I could hardly see the roads. The storm worsened but stopping now would only leave me in the middle of the country, between two corn fields, waiting out the storm. At the time, I thought it would be best to tough it out.
When I reached the final turn I skidded again, this time losing complete control. The bike tipped and slid until my entire body wrapped around a telephone pole. From then on, I only saw light. The sun beaming from the sky and all the worlds darkness escaped through the holes in the clouds. I rested there, peacefully, enjoying the sun’s rays drying my rain drenched body.
It’s been months since any of us have heard from her, but I could never forget her handwriting, especially after years of passing notes in high school. I knew it was my best friend. This is her obscure way of telling me that she loves me and everything is ok. Secretes even from miles away are best kept between the greatest friendships. So I spoke to sky, thinking that her free spirit could hear me, “love you too.”