Tired as I was from the drive, I couldn’t relax in that tiny, motel room. I tried to blame it on the lumpy avocado green bed or the lingering smell of stale cigarettes, but I knew that wasn’t what was keeping me awake. Thoughts were competing with each other in my mind, nipping for attention, begging to be given validation. I had no idea where I was going. No destination marked on the map. Just a room, bouncing hollowness back at me-
I tried lying back in the bed and counting the plaster tiles, and then slowly, I moved on to the yellow-grey water stains, trying to discern a pattern in the seeming randomness. There had to be some sense in the world. Why couldn’t I find it in the ceiling’s imperfections?
Back home, I knew I was loved, but I also knew I couldn’t stay in that town any longer; not after what happened. I couldn’t stand the sight of another cobbled drive or another picketed fence. I couldn’t bare another plastic smile or whisper behind my back. I didn’t want one more frozen cobbler. And I didn’t need one more glance, full of false concern.
I thought if I could just get away- maybe it will be alright; maybe something in the world will make sense again. If only one little thing in the world would make sense, maybe I could move on…But nothing is ever easy, so I chose the easiest, hard path- the one labeled “goodbye”.
As I packed my bags I was almost giddy at the thought of escape. My heart pounded in my ears, covering the little lies I told to smooth my way-
“…No, I’ll be fine, I just need a fresh start…”, “Yes, I have a plan, it’s all here- somewhere…”
Like a mantra, I repeated those lines over and over trying to make them true. I told them to anybody who cared enough to ask a direct question, but mostly I repeated them to myself. By the time my bags were packed, I believed them.
The day I drove away, it felt like there was a reason to hope; the sky was crystalline and road out of town was newly paved. I wanted to get as far away as possible. I drove as far as the first day would take me and until the next day caught up. I drove until I could barely think to drive, and finally pulled my little red truck, over in some little town, with a name- not worth mentioning.
Its here I find myself, counting tiles, trying to avoid the thoughts breaking my sense of peace. The absolute certainty that this is direction I should be headed- is missing. I can’t say if it is right, wrong, or somewhere in-between. I only know, I once had a place, that felt like home and I don’t know which direction will lead me back.