road trippin’ north – Salida, Colorado, 12 May 2012
19 September 2012 § 2 Comments
I should be writing as usual but have no desire to. The road trip has paused in Salida, Colorado, for a couple of days of high mountain valley living in a small town in Denver’s backyard.
Heather met me in Asheville, and much of our Bounce has been in the presence of family and friends I’ve grown apart from.
I didn’t expect anything to be the same with these people – one is successful with his dog care business, another moved to Kansas from Alaska, where he spent his first and only 27 years, and my father left his third wife because he wants to take care of himself now. She’s all torn up, and wants to move away. A friend from my Costa Rica travels is re-adapting to U.S. life, even though she’s been back longer than she was gone. She’s having a hard time with it. She’s focused on school, distracting herself from dealing with having recently been raped.
Good for all of them. My loved ones’ lives reassure me that returning to what I know may be a terrible idea.
Why did I feel so obligated? So I could experience their pain, take on their stresses as I always have, even for only a few hours or days, try to sympathize, and avoid talking about what I’ve been up to?
Yeah, my life is great. I’ve made it that way, and no one wants to hear about it. Others’ lives aren’t so great; they don’t think they made them that way, and everyone should hear about them.
After we left DJ and his sister Danielle in Kansas City, Heather told me how gentle I’d been in describing my childhood friend. High school friend. Brother. We choose our families. Or, I’ve chosen mine. Sometimes my biological family has no connection to me. Among what I’ve created is empty space, wonderment (in the “I wonder where Sean is” sense, not the awestruck “Sean’s life is so great even though I know nothing about it – and he doesn’t talk to me, so that means he must be busy doing things like following his heart.”), and tenuous connections with people the world over.
In my backpack is a growing stack of journals that serve as my only form of recording those heart-chasing adventures and lovely nights spent gazing at the stars, or into a girl’s eyes. The books are beat up and subject to every meal eaten with my fingers, phone numbers written in smoother hands than mine, and self-hatred for telling downright fucking lies. I don’t read them anymore, but instead fill my pack with books written by other people, most of whom have a better sense of why they went where they did, and had the focus to complete an inspired thought.
I write half-poems without meter, rhyme or sense, and misquote people who tell of interactions that changed their lives. In the back of my mind, I think I’ll go back to my notebooks someday, smash those stories together, change a few names, add some punctuation and a few clever metaphors, and sell a novel to a hip publisher in New York or London. Enough people have told me that my writing is great, so maybe it’ll win the Booker Prize.
Whatever. Burn them, one and all.
Someday my travels will mean something more than a kitestring of experiences with which I tie lifetimes together (or will they?). When I’m old and still earning less money in a year than my mum’s monthly mortgage, someone will ask me what I’ve done with my life. “I’ve moved,” I’ll say. “And I’ve loved. Then I moved some more, and loved some more. Perhaps to my peril. Definitely to others’.”
Growth and Survival are fraternal twins whose names their parents still mistake for the other. I drift between them daily, shifting my language to suit them. I want to understand everything and everyone; from this desire I realize how thin my slice of life has been.
I understand only that I share some definitions of words with others, and that hearts break in similar pieces no matter what place we hail from.
Healing connects those siblings the way blood keeps my asshole brother in my heart despite his assholeness. But healing is just the beginning. It is what lifts us from the dark spots, gives us the ability to stand when before only dormant happiness kept us dreaming.
Asserting my existence is the most difficult task I’ve ever charged myself with, but soon it will not be enough. I must move. Walk. Run. Fly.
We’re all on our different paths. Sometimes we collide. Then we brush the dust off, ignore the scrapes, and just keep going.
Always some. Because some don’t survive the crash.