You pack and think of what is important and what is not, they throw you a party, and then you part ways. You wave. The road is a fresh reminder that the life in the dust behind you grew stale, that you outgrew it, that something bigger is pulling you, or something ugly is pushing you. Whatever the case, your foot is on the petal and you, for the moment, are happy, uprooting, mentally lifted via the thrill of new possibilities. Like being high, large movement changes perspective, you’re positive this is the right thing.
You arrive and park the car. A mass of new information surrounds you. You operate like a tourist at first, then acclimate a little by charming locals with your out-of-state glow. They sense it : you have “exotic status”. You are interesting. Your status wears away. You get homesick. You find your groove. You save. You visit the “home” you left. You return to your new home. You think “home” describes both places, but neither hold the feeling the first used to. Then, at some point “home” is only here. You become part of the scene, then, part of the scenery.
Someone asks you for directions. You look like you’d know. You add comical regurgitated one-liners about the dirt roads and their conditions and give them advice on where to eat if they’re hungry. They’re not. The excitement has long been over. You know the gas station attendants by name. You’ve seen inside of your magical beast; upon capture, you went to butcher the meat, but the flesh and life of your prize were mechanical. With the hide ripped open, you took one, long disappointing glance into the ugly, churning compartment of gears and your dreams died.
No longer beaming with the joy of being on an adventure you ask yourself, “What is missing?” because, you can figure it out. Years pass. Geez, you did move all of the way here, you’ve established yourself, you can create, act, and realize goals…but you’re fresh out of those, aren’t ya? You look around. It’s all stale as hell again. You’re a stale chip out of the old bag of everyone else. You aren’t wavy, nor ruffled. Just a plain flat, greasy slice of potato in a foil bag. Yeah like those one’s you’re eating. That’s okay, you don’t need to be special. You’re humble.
A young girl walks past you with her head high. You’re wiping your hands on your jean-covered thighs before you open your soda. You used to call it “pop” but no one listens to you so it doesn’t much matter. She feels sorry for you a moment, then her grandma’s voice makes her check herself and she minds her own business. She fills the fuel tank and tries not to stare at your miserable chip-eating presence until the nozzle clicks. “I’m so glad I’m out of this place” she thinks as she smiles. She lifts her head and waves to you. You notice you were staring. You get a little piece of that thing you’re missing, you dog ear your chip bag, and you decide dial a friend. She hangs up the gas pump. Her car starts smoothly, and with a tank full, she heads out-of-town.