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Image by Walker.Carpenter and used under the terms of a Creative Commons license.

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I can see the rolling nothingness pass by outside of my window. Miles and miles of dirt and darkness. There is no moon and there are no stars. It is almost as if my mind erased them in an attempt to hurry on the relief of sleep. My mind, like my drooping eyelids, is slowly shutting down.

I wake up a few hours later and feel around me with my hands to gain some sort of bearing on my location. For a moment I feel the soft cotton sheets on my bed in New York and I am generally happy, but they soon degrade into the stiff and scratchy surface of the bus seat and I know exactly where I am. I straighten up quickly. The starchy fabric sends pins and needles up my spine.

I strain my eyes past the reflection of my bruised and battered face that the dimmed artificial light in this bus is making against the glass of the window and all I see is cracking dryness. And then darkness. And I can only assume that past the nothing I see now, and past the darkness, there is nothing else but darkness.

I have anxiety and I am not sure why. It is not because I know that I cannot trust anyone because life is always like that. People come and go and I feel them and hold them while I can. And then, as simple as a bone break, I can let them go. It is the uncertain moments like right now that hurt. I think it is this bus seat and the stale, putrid air of the cabin. A dull pain resonates in the back of my head. My heart constantly pounds against every square inch of my body and I can feel my bones shaking, ready to snap. Nothing, not a damn thing, stays still.

I just want to spasm all of my limbs at once and rid myself of this incessantly inconvenient anxiety.

We are moving to a rhythm. The rhythm of destruction. Of guilt. Of repugnant desire. This is how I secretly always imagined life.

Twenty-four hours ago I had a life that was not spinning out of control. Nothing, not a damn thing, stays still.

Instead of thinking about it anymore I decide to stare into the vague and blurry reflection in the window. The blank oval eyes staring back lull me to sleep.

***

I have been walking for what seems like hours. I really lost all track of time after about two fucking minutes on this desolate dirty road. I must be a sight. Five and a half feet of battle. Short and messy black hair sitting on top of bruised skin and a skeleton body. A ghost with green eyes and a torn up black suit walking over miles and miles of graying, cracked asphalt. The dirt and weeds are creeping through the cracks and scratching at me.

I feel completely dirty and alone. I had been sitting in a urine-soaked bus seat for over 48 hours. My legs are buzzing with rushing blood and my head feels like an intense hangover.  I think I’m allergic to the sun.

For 36 hours a mix of am radio and droning voices attempted to shut out my thoughts.

…and millions of gallons of crude are still spilling into the gulf. Coming up, police are still searching for a male suspect in the New York bar beating murder. Also, stay tuned for a chance to win tickets…

Despite the severity of the situation, all I can think of at this point in my life is the heat. The sun is boring a hole through me and there is no shade in sight. Nothing but dirt and dead shrubs surround the road in every direction for miles. There are a few mountains in the distance but they might as well not exist. I don't know how to love anyone and all I can think of is how desperately I need to get out of the goddamned sun. And I can't get a ride.

I pass nothing but a couple of shacks that probably haven't been in use since the dust bowl: small, square constructs made out of nothing but cheap bleached wood and nails.

I am standing and looking at one of these shacks and I hear the click clack of metal rotating against itself. And then I turn back to the road and see her, blond curly hair blowing in the wind. Riding on her neon green and pink bike in the middle of God knows where, New Mexico with flip-flops and an ugly brown t-shirt, she asks me if I need a ride. She tells me to hop on the handlebars and I do because it seems like my most convenient option.

She has smooth tan skin without much wear to it. She looks a little younger than me, maybe 19 or 20, but she could be younger.

Her house isn’t far from here she tells me and she can get me some food and water if I want. She says all this while eyeing the canteen that I realize I held upside down while staring at the shed. I can feel the skin inside of my throat drying out.

I back up to the front of the bike and use my forearms to muscle myself onto the wide handlebars. She grinds the bars back and forth and back and forth as she attempts to get the bike moving again. My arms remain locked and my knuckles clenched until we finally pick up enough speed.

Apparently, out in the desert, the phrase ‘not far’ is relative. For miles and miles I have seen nothing but the same bleary scenery. Dry cracked earth spotted with little yellow bushes and grass and the occasional peeling wood shed. We press on into the dry afternoon heat. There are mountains in the distance that do not block the sun and I think about how they probably aren't there at all.

The handlebars are cutting off circulation to the lower part of my legs and they dangle lifelessly below me. Every time we hit one of the many bumps in the road the girl's hand slips and hits me right in the testicles and a feeling of nausea fills my stomach. This whole ride feels sporadic, bumpy and unnatural like first time masturbation. I don’t know how she can see the rode with me in front.

By the time we reach the little plot she calls home, I am drenched in sweat. My white oxford shirt feels like a limp rag and it is reaching around 100 degrees inside of my pants. I dismount and thank her for the ride and look around. An old and twisted looking apple tree sits in a small circle of grass in the shade provided by the house's second story overhang. The yellow leaves lay in piles on the ground and the few green ones left offset the maroon color of the tiny and wrinkled apples. The rest of the yard is nothing but dirt and boot tracks.

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