Forty Two : Who Needs Heroin When The PCT Exists? (Part 1)

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?)
I digress.
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 won’t.
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.

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