Route 6. Van Spotting. Motherhood. Gone With The Wind.

“What the fuck was that dude!? Turn around!” As we busted a bitch, my heart was pounding against my chest and a grin so wide, I’m sure there were a few bugs getting snagged between my teeth.

We roared up to Kenny’s Victorian house smack dab along Route 6, our hair every which way from the cruise towards Ottawa. “S” & I took this ride almost every weekend from a small town just outside Joliet, llinois.



This was the first time I had ever spotted The Van.


I walked up the wrap around porch, contemplating my sanity. I knocked a few times….Stass, what the fuck are you doing? “Hi, I wanted to take a look at that…thing you have in your front yard.” He smiled, his grin as wide as mine as just a few moments ago.

Kenny was pumped to show me The Van, giving me a brief story of how she came to be in the middle of his yard. It was once his spouse’s grandparents and eventually became a playhouse for the following generations.

She smelled, she was ugly, she was beat up. She was all around a hot mess. Beneath the water stains and dirt, I saw her beauty. She was perfect.I had actually had my eyes on a gorgeous BMW. That’s the girl who I thought I wanted to be, the one with the sexy import. Can you imagine? Me….with an import? Jesus fucking Christ. I bet my hair would be blonde now, a gel coat on my nails, and a fake tan making me resemble an Oompa Lumpa.

I made him an offer, well “S” actually did. I had just gotten a tax return, a large one, as a result of a previous employer claiming all my tips. Thanks B.H. 😛 I had half of what Kenny was asking and a shot “S” the look of death when he offered him half of what he was asking. I didn’t want to insult the guy, I knew how much this meant to him.

The next week was spent of daydreaming about van life ; the sunsets we would watch, the people we would meet at long forgotten bars, the oceans we would dip in. A way out. Anywhere, but here.

The phone rings. “Hey, so I’ve been thinking about your offer. If you want her, she’s yours.”
Fuck. Do I want her? What would I do with her.


I do this a lot, impulsive decisions. It has gotten me pretty damn far, hasn’t it?

On June 27, 2011 I went back to the place where I first laid eyes on The Van and forked over $2,000. She was ours. She was the 2nd vehicle I have ever owned, but the first I had bought myself. “S” bought me a 1976 El Camino back when we lived in Phoenix, but that’s a different story for a different day.

Dad had to drive her home. She was missing a grommet from the filler tube, so there was a gas can hooked up straight to the fuel line under the passenger seat. The brakes were in need of a good bleeding. Who am I kidding? She was big and I’m small. I was too scared. I didn’t feel too bad when we got back to Dad’s and he said he almost shit himself a couple of times.

As I followed Dad through the back roads to our house, I was in disbelief at what I had done. I didn’t know shit about wrenching on cars and this was one hell of a project to take on. Was I actually going to live in this thing? Was this just another one of my dreams I would completely fail at?

Over the next year and a half, I spent every waking moment working on The Van.










The daydreaming never ceased and grew into a fucking obsession. I would talk about her to anyone who would listen. I had paint permanently stuck in my hair, cuts all over my body, and bruises that looked more painful than they actually were. I don’t think anyone actually every believe me, not even “S’’, hell, not even me.

The January after I bought The Van, I found myself peeing on a white, plastic stick. As I sprayed urine all over the place, I began daydreaming of the complete opposite of the past seven months; diaper changes, late nights, school, stretch marks, saggy tits. As the colors on the stick slowly appeared, it became a reality. I was going to be a mom.

As I write this, my lips are quivering, tears streaming down my face, and an uncontrollable feeling of guilt. This was actually the third time I had been pregnant, all by “S’’, with the first two being aborted. I thought well, third time is a charm.

We decided it was time to grow up, at the tender age of twenty-three. The next six weeks were no longer filled with paint schemes, sanding down surfaces, demolition, or nailing. There were doctor’s visits, legs spread, wands getting shoved up my twat, morning nausea, fighting, pizza cravings, and baby name picking. Even in all the chaos, I was still dreaming of The Van. I would sit on my father’s couch, my hand on my stomach, looking out the bay window, and stare at The Van. She looked so alone out there. She was like a wild horse who had been caught and forced in captivity. So was I.

Something was wrong, I just knew it. Another doctor’s visit confirmed my theory: I had miscarried. I was at six weeks when I should have been at eleven. I screamed at the nurses and doctors who had swarmed the room, my legs still wide open. “Just fucking get it out of me!” They said I could let it happen naturally. Fuck that.

I’ll never know the reason why my baby never became a part of this beautiful world, I can only guess. Around the time “S” blew his load, I had been heavily using a primer which had been known to cause birth defects, cancer, miscarriage, and infertility. I never bothered reading the label and only did months after. I recall begging “S’” to assist me with the painting. He never did. I secretly blamed him, for had he helped me, our baby might be alive.

After that, our relationship went sour like wine to vinegar. It was a slow process, but when it happened, boy, did it taste like shit. I was empty inside, lost, and confused. All I had was The Van and all she had was me. Together, we spent every waking moment, together. I was on a mission to get the fuck out of the place I once called home.

I did. Somehow, someway, I grew a set of balls. After another (short-lived) relationship with “S’’ and yet another blow out, I decided it was time to go. From the day of this decision to the day I left, was a womping two days. I burned shit, sold shit, threw away shit, packed shit, and threw shit at any mirror and wall in sight. When there was no more shit, I left.

I didn’t plan this life, it just happened. I believe it is the only way to travel and why I am still on the road. I didn’t have a route, a length of time to “finish”, a set itinerary of places and people to see. I just let the road take me, I had nothing left to lose. For the first time in my life, I was “just being”. I spent most of my life broken and without a spirit. The Van spent 20 years locked away in a garage, just wanting to be loved. I needed her and she needed me.

As I sit here, three years later to the date of love at first sight, I look around me, almost for the first time. She’s filled with color now, but still a bit rough around the edges. She was once told she would never go again. No one believed she would ever make it this far. That’s why I love her. I’m her, she’s me.

Happy 3rd Anniversary Babe.

Colfax. Sanchos. You. I Miss.


Monday night. Colfax. Sanchos. Whiskey talls. Some Cajun band I can’t recall the name. Him. Across the room playing pool. Gorgeous ass. Long, blonde hair. Muscles. “Who is that?” I whispered to my friend.

I wanted you, every bit of you. I was going to get it. In my slightly drunken state, I conjured the balls to approach your sexy self. That smile. I knew how this night was going to end, so did you.

We ditched Sancho’s. Went to some other bar. More whiskey. More smiles. More ass. A make out sesh in the hallway. Taxi. Clothes on the floor. Sloppy sex.

The next morning, I opened my eyes, attempting to register where I was. Fuck, I’m naked. Clothes scattered. I roll over. You.

I got dressed, took a piss, and accessed the damage. Hump hair. Black mascara rings. Bloodshot eyes. Fuck. I crawled back under the covers, waking you up.Hi. I rubbed your back. What time is it?

I called for a ride. Your friend, my friend, our friend. The pissed off friend. We share a smoke in the backyard. Still drunk. Another one to add to the list. Wait, you want my number? Are you sure? I just met and fucked you. I live in my van. I don’t have a secure job. Here.

Sunday. Almost a week before I saw you last. You look exhausted from the weekend. We passed out in your bed, didn’t even cuddle. Why? Was it me? Not knowing how to act around a man ? Or you? Unsure about me.

I drove you to work the next morning. I kept peering over, contemplating if you were digging The Van or not. You get out. No goodbye kiss.

I went with your friends to the “Hillbilly Waterpark”. Friends. What were those? I didn’t have any, consistent ones anyways.

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That night, you shared your steak with me. I don’t even like steak, but you were feeding it to me. The act made me grin ear to ear. I couldn’t recall the last time someone feeding me anything except bullshit.

I got sick, maybe it was the steak. I wasn’t in the mood to go out. Stay in my bed, I’ll be home soon. When you did came back, loud and drunk, I pretended to be sleeping. I had actually been up the entire time, cruising Craigslist for jobs in Denver. I wanted to stay.

I woke up the next morning, you had already gone to work. I tiptoed around the house, going back and forth from The Van. Took a scolding hot shower.

I got a phone call from a friend. Come to Colorado Springs now, there’s an RV headed to Illinois for Summer Camp Music Festival. I have no money though. It’s okay, it’ll work out. Another phone call from a friend a few hours later. Can you drive my car from New Orleans to San Diego?

Just so happens you were headed to Summer Camp too. Keep The Van at my house, I’ll see you there.

When I saw you again, you threw your wristband over the fence. We spent the weekend dancing, sharing food, acid trips, and cheap beer. Can you have my babies? I laughed at the idea, not quite sure if you were serious.

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The night before I left, we slept in your hammock. My head on your chest, my legs thrown over yours, the stars twinkling above, music in the distance……a scene I’d only ever dreamed about.
You were sleeping when I left the next day. Before I zipped up the tent, I looked at you one last time. I smiled. Who was this guy?

Two weeks before I saw you again. The road took me home for a visit, a plane to New Orleans, a car to San Diego, and a flight back to Denver.

We wasted no time on seeing one another. I met you at your work. You’re lookin’ delicious…you say. We left my bags behind and took a cab to Cervantes.

The feelings were still there, stronger if anything. Your hand grazed my bare back. Shivers up and down my spine. I looked at you, knowing what was going to come next. You pulled me in and we kissed right there, for all to see. We both couldn’t wipe the goofy grins off our faces.

I ordered us whiskey. You courted me to the outside patio. I recognized your friends. Warm hellos. Genuine hellos.

I felt normal. A man by my side, laughing with friends. Denver was beginning to feel like home.

So what do I do? I threw it all away. Naturally. A job offer in Telluride bit me with the travel bug. I was itching everywhere. New adventures. New place. I didn’t quite tell you I was going. I was torn between you and Telluride. I flipped a coin. It was you.



The next day. Friday. The Van wouldn’t start. Batteries fried. We did yard work. Together. A team. We yelled crude jokes to one another, making each other laugh. You guys are nuts….made for each other…your friend says watching us in the front yard.

My bags were still across town & the van was still out of commission. The bus was our only option. As we waited for the bus on Colfax, I wrapped my arms around you. I was cold. You told me to bring a jacket, but I refused. You held me for as long as I wanted. I look up, give you a kiss. We were that couple. The one standing on the corner waiting for the bus wrapped in each other’s arms. I always envied them. I was one of them.

On the bus, I laid my head on your shoulders. This felt nice. I like nice.

We went for ice cream. Your friends shop. So this is what having a boyfriend felt like.

We walked the city, retrieved my bags, and took a cab back to your house.

I had to deal with Van bullshit the next morning.


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In the afternoon, we shared shitty Chinese. I silently listened to you share your life with me. He’s letting me in. I’m letting him in. Normal. Scary.

You went to work, I spent the rest of the day getting rides, cabs, dealing with auto parts dudes who didn’t know shit. I was exhausted.

Early Evening. Both of us starving, we headed to Whole Foods. You fed me samples & I couldn’t stop giggling. Let’s make milkshakes. Vanilla ice cream. Chocolate hazelnut biscuit stick things. Chocolate milk. Turtle somethings.

We cuddled on the couch. Watched a movie. You can wash your clothes before you leave. We went to bed, but I couldn’t sleep. I stayed up till four, my mind racing. You. Me. Telluride. Stay. Denver. Van. I ended up passing out on the couch. Our last night. I think you may have been slightly pissed.

Clothes washed. Van packed. Shower. Shittiest goodbye kiss ever. As I pulled away, I couldn’t shake how wrong it felt. Leaving. You. Telluride. Seeing you again.

On my way there, a guy stood in the middle of the road with a gun, blocking both lanes of traffic. I should have turned around then. I didn’t.

I fucked up. I regret leaving. I miss cradling your face in my hands. I miss your lips against mine. I miss you telling me I’m beautiful. I miss splitting smokes. Food. I miss your ass. I miss your long, blonde hair. I miss the way you wear your hat. I miss your bed. I miss sharing ice cream. I miss our talks. I miss your smile. I miss your ugly feet. I miss you snoring. I miss rolling over next to you.

I miss you. I’m sorry.