(This entry was written a few weeks ago)
I threw the Heineken in the mini fridge, grabbing one for each of us. I plopped down in the bed opposite him, watching him out of the corner of my eye. I took a swig of my beer, a weak attempt to conceal the smile beginning to spread across my face.
I met Steven just a few days before, both of us posting up at a campground in East Lake, North Carolina. I should have been in New York, but somehow found myself in the Outer Banks. I’ve come to find the road is a sneaky bitch, always sending me somewhere other than I had intended.
I was at a truck stop on the Virginia-Maryland border a week before, contemplating if I should continue to the my destination of New York. Everything inside of me was screaming to not continue on. I was headed to see a friend for her birthday. We had met six years prior, she posting an ad on Craigslist for a personal assistant in New Orleans. A week later, my apartment was packed & on a plane with no intent on returning to Chicago.
The rain was continuous the entire way from West Virginia, making the mood of my decision making a tad depressing. I sat at that truck stop for two hours, studying the map. So if I didn’t want to go to NYC, then where? South I decided. I had two states to knock off my list, The Carolinas. I was dying to dip my feet in the ocean & the image of me basking on a beach was seductive. I found myself throwing The Van in drive and headed the complete fucking opposite direction. (Can you please say direction like die-wreck-shin, I love when people say it that way…ha. Back home we say der-ection)
“When are you going to stop?”, Stephen curiously asks me.
I have been confronted with this question so many times, it often gets irritating. even more now that I am verging on a year of this lifestyle. “What’s your goal/mission?”, is another one I get. Why does everything have to have a purpose? Why can’t everyone just let things….be? We are so fucking petrified of the unknown, throw away the calendar man!
I answer every time with an , “I don’t know.” Always with a smile on my face because well, it excites me to not know. I felt a bit ignorant giving Stephen the same answer I have for everyone else. Stephen was in the OBX working as a tuna fisherman, saving the dough to put himself through school, pursing a degree in chemical engineering. I was a bit envious of him, so much commitment he was putting into his life as to make himself a better one.
“You are so intelligent, you should go back to school.”
I was dumbfounded. School? Me? An image of me in the seasons newest outfit sitting in an auditorium jotting down my professor’s every word, rolled through my mind. A life I chose to not live many years ago. Out of nerves, I began unraveling my life story. I wasn’t looking for pity, for once I felt okay with my past. Okay enough to be explaining to an absolute stranger why I am the way I am.
I really don’t think I have to explain why we were both in a hotel room, but if you must….
My heart still mangled from a toxic relationship and he having been at sea for eighteen days, we both really needed to get laid. Love and all things involved, is quite complicated on the road. Always moving, saying a goodbye that proves to never get any easier. We spent four days getting drunk, making love wherever and whenever we could, inserting laughs in between. For once in a long time, I had completely let myself go, enjoying the moment. And let’s face it, an attractive man peeling off my clothes on a secluded beach was just fucking great.
I had been burdened by my previous partner’s presence in my life. I had wasted so much energy attempting to make him understand me and refusing to accept our relationship was unhealthy. I wasn’t able to be myself around him, he always picking at everything about me. I believe he was a bit embarrassed by my gypsy ways, yet secretly envious at the same time. Whatever the case, it has ended, thank fucking god. I feel lighter, the weight of our shitshow relationship off my shoulders.
I looked around the room, seeking my clothes Stephen had ripped off. There was his shirt on the tacky reading chair next to the bed. I hurriedly threw it on and pranced across the room to fetch fresh beers. I passed by the mirror, accessing myself. My hair was a complete mess, black mascara ringing my eyes, and the beginnings of cellulite on my ass.
“You look hot in that shirt, keep it.”
Startled, I turned around and slipped back into the bed with him. It had been a long time since I had let anyone see so much of me, inside and out. I felt like a teenager again, all giddy the new boy in school asked to me to the dance.
I’m sitting here writing this in the same shirt, still smiling. I shouldn’t be, my hard drive fried last week from an open window during a storm, $60 in gas came seeping out of a hole in my gas tank, and I have $10 in my pocket. For some reason, I know everything will be okay. I feel I get handed these situations to make me stronger. I somehow have to pull myself out of every predicament, coming out even more tenacious.
I know why the road sent me here. I was more lost than ever, feeling slightly down. A lonely fisherman from Alabama pulled me out of a rough spot. I feel like myself again, confident and beautiful. I’m not going to lie, I shed a tear watching Stephen pull away to head back home. He got me thinking to the question I didn’t have the answer to.
“When are you going to stop?”
I have always wanted to be loved and reciprocate that feeling ten fold. One can not love, without having love for oneself. Somewhere on the road this past year, I had forgiven myself. I placed myself in terrible situations, out of lack of respect and ignoring the demons within. They’re all gone now, burned to a crisp and a gorgeous phoenix has risen from their ashes. She looks upon the hell below, spreads her wings and takes flight.
My journey will end when I find love, the one to sweep me off my feet, or in my case, my tires. I’m well aware I have just opened a door for marriage proposals…ha! There’s someone out there who will accept me for all the good and the bad. A man who won’t attempt to clip my wings or tame the lioness. Every woman deserves a happy ending, it has taken this long for me to realize I am one of them.
So here’s to the ultimate journey in life….LOVE
“Someone told me there’s a girl out there, with love in her eyes, and flowers in her hair..”