I worked myself to dark circles for half a year before seeing Pennsylvania road after Pennsylvania road up and over the Poconos slight moonlight reflecting off Sunday’s snow and onward, onward icy road and neon signs saying how many miles to wherever and wherever after. We stopped for toilets and coffee and asked the waitress questions about her life and how she lives it. Josh won three stuffed animals out of the claw machine and left them all at the booth with our empty cups. “A present,” he said, “for whomever comes after.” I was falling asleep passenger side after almost falling asleep driver side and Josh went on and over again about his new theory on why things are the way they are. “It’s like, who listens to the radio anymore?” he said to me and I was almost out then and I heard something like, “…so many lost art forms” and I was in and out for the rest.
New York to Chicago and I saw more winter cornfields that day than an entire country could eat. And every waitress had her one line she liked to use with customers, “We just starting serving these Chinese stir-fry dishes and I dunno why. Grilled Cheese, simple and right, does you good.” And another, “You get folks coming down from New York and I tell them to take 78 on out the city instead of 80 because you can see the National Forest down there and now with the snow and all… I’m just saying, it’s not always point A to point B.” And that was her line. She spent her entire life barely leaving the same small town and her line was on how to best get to and from places. I think we’re all like that.
Later on I was falling asleep again to some band out of LA playing about house parties and backyards always waiting for a touch of freedom. Josh went on and on about Jenn Matthews that day talking about her big blue eyes and bikini tops on Coney Island. “I mean, she speaks Russian for chrissake,” he said. I was still in and out but he was fine talking and I was fine listening and more road signs 120 miles to Columbus, 70 miles to Columbus and Josh said he was in the mood for Thai food.
And I was still falling asleep through even more corn, and Josh was bouncy as ever, wondering what’s next and how and how many Jenn Matthews to come and I was left sleeping off the past four months.
Josh stopped, worrying about what he called, “caffeine angels,” and I don’t know what he meant by that, but I took over and the drone of a dark road the same bump every two seconds for 50 or so miles put Josh down and I was left humming James Taylor songs to myself. I’d pass cars every so often and the nice ones would slow some and turn their brights off and then there are those they didn’t and each time I had the thought through my head that they were a little too anxious for that point B.
And for the first time, I was in between. Did me good.