They just kept talking. We all kept drinking. My patience eventually expired.
It wasn’t that I was so fed up with them personally (although I would never speak to or see any one of them ever again, aside from my boyfriend, after the following week) but I was fed up with their seemingly constant need to talk about what they would do, instead of actually doing it.
Deciding I was completely done with the conversation, I adjourned everyone into a demand for why none of us were reaching those dreams we spoke so passionately about. Why every time time we got together the conversation went down the same path with no outcome but a hangover.
I suggested fear. I offered my own. My boyfriend offered his. Everyone offered theirs. It was a night of incredible honesty. It was a night that changed our lives.
Four days later my boyfriend and I found ourselves in the library looking at travel books. We decided Albuquerque was too difficult to spell and Los Angeles too was exhausting to deal with. We knew Dallas wasn’t for us, and Phoenix had too much…everything. All we knew was that we had to be free. We had to leave Michigan, and we had to do it immediately, or it would never happen.
One week to the day of the initial conversation we had with our friends, our cars were packed, a note was left on the counter, and we headed west, with no particular destination.
We drove and drove and drove, states disappearing behind us like dust. Only stopping to fuel up and buy batteries for the boombox I was using in lieu of a broken radio. Mother Theresa died. I left my wallet at a gas station in Colorado.
We eventually learned to spell Albuquerque, but not before practicing on several job applications. We met a nice apartment manager that said we looked trustworthy, thankfully she was the first one we met. We learned how much water to pack on a mountain hike, and toilet paper.
We also learned that our fears were just that. Fears. And the funny thing was, those fears? They actually turned out to be true, but we would have never known that unless we met them face-to-face. And the fact was, it didn’t matter. We left it all behind, we shed our skin and grew our wings. We were all the way across the country in a paradise of our own creation, taking nothing for granted, because we were free. And we knew the value of that above all else.
It was the greatest adventure of my life, and his companionship in the escape, one of the most self-investing gifts I’ve ever received.
Recently, I found an old birthday card from him. In the seventeen years of our friendship, he’s only ever given me one. He was never overly wordy, because he usually only said what was needed.
Thanks, Rob. Nailed it.
Don’t change yourself to fit in their scene.
Relax, have fun, nothing is really that important. – RV, 1997