I lay on the cot I’ve made myself behind the love seat on the floor of Jordans apartment, staring up at my phone trying not to think about how the screams of my body are getting louder and louder.
Suck it up, the man inside my head, the one that uses my voice, says.
I scroll through photos on Instagram until my fingers stop lazily scrolling on the start of the trail. My heart sinks five or six feet in defeat before climbing out of its grave and, standing tall and proud, says “not a defeat, a life altering learning experience.”
My neck itches and I scratch it. The breeze makes the room grow chill. I giggle at the irony. ” It’s so cold,” scratch scratch scratch, “just need to get back out to the PCT. God damn Mojave is calling to me ya know?!”
Like a comedic crackhead.
It’s only been four weeks but I feel so compelled. Everything I do from here on out, no matter how much I could try to deviate my course, feels like it’s just going to lead me back out into the great devouring wild.
The man that lives in my head, the one that uses my voice asks and I whisper the words as he does.
Do you remember the taste of it?
Simple things that I miss.
Lounging over me on large chairs,
Like I’m the throne,
She the queen.
Random laughter at unfortunate things,
She walks hard, with confidence,
Each step rings in my heart,
As she walked to me,
And far beyond.
Where she will always stay.
Far, far beyond.
Walked through ghettos and slums
Talked to killers with guns
Rotated through shadows
Brought forth horizons
Bring more stories to blind them
And surprise them
Laughs stacked, kill them with kindness
We control the spice
We control the lines
Through infinity, sparks colliding
Beyond the minds limits
We mime dead silence with kind eyes in violence
We dredge through streets
We pay them not to weep
Can’t stand the sirens
Stand up for your visions unwinding
Indecent men gain on your retreat
Step with promise, say it again, repeat
Passed aggression into timing
Look forward to the beat
Rhythm is dying
As soon as I step out of the truck a gust of wind catches the door and slams it into me. Looking back at it all now I can see that the entire trip down was a warning sign. The cactus incident, The Words, the conversation with Grace, and then the god damn truck door. I ignored them all and swung the door back open, swinging my legs out and planting my hiking shoes firmly on the hard desert floor. I can taste the Mojave dust, feel it against my skin with every gust of cool air. The air jumps from hot to cold to hot again and the hair raises up on my arms despite the fleece jacket I’m wearing. Nervousness creeps over me as I sling my pack over my back, adjusting and finally securing it’s burden to my body. The Osprey I swapped out my Deuter pack for last minute hugs me like a brand new sock.
I take the obligatory southern terminus photo and survey the landscape that stretches out ominously in every direction. I imagine that it looks exactly the same on the other side of the “fence” that separates Mexico from the United States. I say “fence” because it looks like sheet metal riveted together, cutting down the imaginary line that separates Spanish speaking Mexicans from English speaking Americans, more of a jalopy than a fence – it seems pretty ridiculous, to keep people out of specific sections of the Earth just because they were born in a different region. As if it were going to make all the difference in the balance of things if human beings are not kept confined to specific sections of the globe. The entire practice seems archaic.
Borders make me a little angry. But then again, so do people.
(Aka. Who the fuck are you to tell me where I can and can’t go? What I can and can’t see without a piece of paper to tell you where I came from and that it’s ok for me to be where I want. What does it matter where I came from? I was born on this fucking planet wasn’t I? Does that not give me the right to exist on it as I see fit? At least within the bounds of common human decency and morals?)
Standing there looking at my father, him looking back. I turn and look back out across the Mojave, trying to figure out where North is. I’m lost already and I haven’t even started. The hairs on my arm I tried so hard to lower raise back up like red flags.
In the smallest voice I haven’t used since I was a child the words slip out of my mouth before I can even realize they’re coming.
“Where do I go from here…”
I turn back to face dad, unable to believe those words fell off my tongue. Tears in his eyes.
“I’m going to take off.” I tell him.
He can’t control himself. “Don’t forget the face of your father.”
We shake hands and the fear in both of our eyes meets just long enough for us both to understand what’s about to happen.
I spin around and put one foot in front of the other. Before I know it the small “Mile 1″ sign, I assume is placed to make you feel like you’ve accomplished something, stares back at me. Only about two and a half thousand miles to go.
I hold my cell phone up to the sky
Like it’s a stone tablet
Commanding rules to follow
But I’m on Craigslist
Looking for hope in jobs
Faith restoring while the arrow spins
No phone calls
I hold my phone up to the sky
Like a farmer in a drought
Praying for rain
This was supposed to be a lot longer, a full recount of what happened out there. The beaten paths my mind traveled while my feet pulled me through the hardened desert sands of the Mojave. I’ll clutch those words to my chest soon enough, the experience will become a clear story.
But for right now, I’m alive.
There was a distance covered, a lesson learned.
“I made a mistake.”
Something I’ve never been able to admit before.
I didn’t have a good reason to stop writing about you, to be totally and completely honest… I suppose that over time you could assume that it was because we both have come so far over such an amount of time as this, that so many things have happened between then and now. Friends, lovers, me chasing the constant chaos I thrust myself into, you finding stability in your life like a sane person should. That after everything we have both been through in our lives that I wouldn’t write about you because I no longer feel that way anymore.
I stopped because I couldn’t anymore. Not that I didn’t want to.
I delete six different half truths before I finally decide I can at least write it all out on paper first. But none of that seems right either.
I stopped because I didn’t really know the words. But that wasn’t the problem. I’ve been working on this for a long time now. Wondering if I’ll ever get a chance to try again only to figure out suddenly that chances don’t come, you make them over time. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of dramatics to get a point across, and that actions speak louder than words. It’s also no secret I’ve been terrible in actions and only versed in words. Meaningless little things. But here they are, still falling out of my hands because my tongue is an idiot.
You’ve said a lot of things recently, things I don’t know how to interpret, especially from you. Crazies complimenting, how I’ve always been around if you’ve needed me. The same can be said about you. I’m horrified I’m reading into these things too much, that feelings I’ve held for you since the day I met you are bubbling back up again, that that flame is going to burn the hell out of me again. Because I’m taking it all the wrong way again. Repeating the mistakes of a me that hardly exists anymore.
“I think you underestimate your importance in my life.”
I think the same thing about you but don’t say it when I should.
I was going to send this to you as an email, like the poem I sent you twelve years ago, the poem I wrote you that still holds true to this day and probably always will. But I want this to be public, that people may read it and know that feelings like these can survive the test of time and the course of events.
You wanted to know when I was going to write about you, well, Lovely Lady, this is yours.
Guppy and I always talk about a time travel scenario : if you could go back in time, knowing what you do now, what would you do differently? I always respond with a simple, carefree “nothing.”
More lies, though not completely. If not for my stumbling, fumbling mistakes I wouldn’t be here, in Las Vegas preparing to embark on the craziest adventure of my life, thinking about you, stitching the words together that may finally say what my actions cannot.
Know that when I tell you I love you its in the deepest, most complicated way a person can care about someone other than themselves and nothing that’s happened over our lives has changed that.
If I were to commandeer that time machine I’d set the date for July 4th, 2001 and do everything exactly the same up until I walked you home; when you leaned in suddenly to kiss me there wouldn’t be the lips of a stunned, confused boy, but the lips of a man who’s loved you his entire life. I’d kiss you like I should have and tell you that I’ll love you forever, no matter what happens to either of us. Like I wanted to at the party when I hugged you and kissed your forehead instead. Knowing that it wasn’t the time. But now the reality of what I’m attempting is sinking in, the dangers no one can really prepare for, the possibility that something -could- happen, no matter how ready or confident I am. So this is for you, to explain absences and regrets, feelings I’ve had buried for ten years, just in case I don’t have a chance to say them later.
Still, after this attempt, I’ve come to the conclusion that there will never be enough words to explain you in my heart and mind; even if there were, there could never be the ink to write them.
Half a year to think about it.
I and Love and You.