“Hi, I’m looking for Bath 2.”
“He’s down the hall, take the stairs, and the third door on the left.”
I wasn’t entirely sure of the scene I was about to walk into. With each step, my mind was racing with all the things I was going to say. “I’m sorry.”…. “I will always think of you.”…“ I don’t deserve you.” The hallway was humid, making my perspiration only that much more unbearable. First door…second door…there. On a white door, barely readable, was a big fat 2. I knocked.
“Who is it?”
“It’s me, Stass.”
I watched as the door knob circle and held my breath. Between the humidity and the lack of oxygen, the look on Joe’s face almost sent me to the floor. His face had the telltale signs of a broken heart; distraught, red eyes, stern face. I wasn’t prepared for this part nor was I prepared for those three words every women aches to hear.
Let me tell you how we had found ourselves broken hearted in Indian Hot Springs. At the beginning of July, I pulled up to Joe’s farm in a quaint town an hour southwest of Denver. I was merely looking for a place to relax till I decided on my next move.
Love was the last thing on my mind. But ahh, doesn’t it come when you least expect it?
When I first laid eyes on Joe , he was actually with another woman. In my eyes, they were perfect for each other, which is why I kept my feelings at bay. I honestly thought he was out of my league. The woman left not too long after my arrival, having a bit of wanderlust herself, and told Joe to not wait for her.
Weeks went by before either of us made a move. I didn’t want to involve myself with Joe, knowing what a mess being in love on the road can be. He would walk into a room and I would make any excuse to leave. Just being in his presence scared the living shit out of me. We would pass by one another frequently on the 10 acre property during my infamous farm missions. I tried my best to make the conversation general and quick. I didn’t want to know anything about him nor let him in on me.
One day, during a rain storm, there was a knock on The Van door. It was Joe. He climbed in and I immediately wanted to hop out. The Van was my soul exposed and this was the last place I wanted him to be. We played a few games of Mancala and I didn’t hold back beating his ass. I knew right then and there, I was fucked. I could barely look into his eyes without smiling and giggling like a school girl.
He took me to Taos, New Mexico for my birthday, me pretending we were going as friends. We had our other roommate in tow, so I figured I would be safe from any advances. We went down to the hot springs along the river, tripped fucking balls beneath the summer stars, and soaked in the magical properties of the water. Over the next few days, we got drunk, whispered jokes to one another, all the while not making a move on one another.
That is, till we got back on The Farm and found ourselves alone in the cabin with a bottle of wine. He got me half naked and in his bed, but it wasn’t until days later, as the sun came up, that we made love for the first time.
He kissed me in a way I’ve only dreamt about and eagerly let him in. He not only made me come, but we did it together. I didn’t even know this was possible. My legs were shaking and my heart just completely fucking melting. I remember staring at the ceiling, recalling all the other ones I have stared at after romps with strangers. I turned my head, smiled at this man I barely know, and kissed him as if I’ve known him forever.
Over the next few months, our love for each other grew stronger as the winds grew colder. I always leave, no matter what, I simply can’t help myself. I yearn for that new adventure around the corner, the whiskey with a stranger, and the unknown. As the last leaves fell from the aspen trees, I packed up and left.
I’ve never regretted anything I have done, except slightly questioning the hand grenade on Bourbon Street pulled out of a garbage can. Every time I leave a place, it has always felt like the right thing to do. Not this time. It was downright pissing me off. Why the hell was I crying as I inched closer to New Mexico? I kept thinking…I’m headed back to The Keys, sunshine, and sparkling blue water…screw those fucking mountains.
My heart, which once belonged to the road, was now 400 miles behind me. A heart I once thought was scattered across America, never to be whole again. The pieces lay in the Atlantic somewhere in the Outer Banks, on a conch riddled island in The Lower Keys, a van camp deep within The High Rockies, a mosquito infested swamp in Louisiana, on the back of a Shovelhead in the Midwest, and all the roads in between. Somehow, unbeknownst to me, they had united once again. in Bailey, Colorado.
It took a stranger in Taos to convince me to turn back around. There really wasn’t much persuasion needed, as the heart will do what the heart wants. We had coffee beneath the same rocking willows as Joe and I had only a few months earlier. I desired him more than the road. I got a coffee to go and headed back to Colorful Colorado.
Going back to The Farm was not an option for me as I knew this would involve spending an excessive amount of time together. I manifested an idea of getting my own place. Before I even crossed the border, I had landed my own cabin. You heard that right. I have a fucking house.
I moved in October 3rd, just twenty days shy of my two year van anniversary. At the moment, the interior looks like The Van puked all over the walls.
There are hippy trinkets on any flat surface and reminders of friends I met on the road. My clothes aren’t crammed in a small closet above my furnace, I no longer have to pee in a cup, I can take a shit when I please, and there are no projectile objects when making a hard right turn. It’s quaint, it’s perfect, and it’s me.
I’ve almost felt like a traitor, not quite sure how to tell the world The Van is sitting in a field along Highway 285. I’ve been so worn down, my traveling began years before The Van. These past two years have been me going full throttle. I need a rest, a place to hang my hat at the end of the day.
I cried every day for two weeks when I moved in, regretting the decision I had made. The $1,500 I had spent getting this place, could have filled my gas tank 20 times. I deserve this though. I worked hard to get where I am mentally and spiritually, it’s time to reap those benefits.
Fortunately, Joe has the same wanderlust as I. Every week, we pick a new destination and a new adventure. Later this month, I will be taking off for a few weeks and head back on the road. To be able to come back to him and this cabin, is pretty much everything I have ever wanted. Deep down, I know I will not stay here forever as I’m just not wired to be stagnant. I now have a road dog though, one to share the laughs and adventure with.
Saying goodbye to The Van was the hardest thing I have ever done. She had become a part of me, but as a friend once said, she should not define me. And to be honest, she has “Girl” written all over her and it’s quite embarrassing. I no longer feel like a child as I have grown into a woman. The Van was my cocoon and now I am a butterfly.
This isn’t the end my friends, regardless of what Jim Morrison says, this is just the beginning. For all those who were as once weary as I from the road, who yearn for a home cooked meal and warm shower, or who simply need to get away, I invite you here, all of you. And if you can’t make it to swap stories, write them down. One of the best things about being semi-stagnant, is I can now receive mail: Anastassia S. P.O. Box 266 Shawnee, Colorado 80475.
“Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.” J.K.