The Brave Highway

Went for a little tea and sympathy last night, didn’t get either.  What did I expect? not much, hoped a little… missed her that much.  Took the brave highway, didn’t have a road map… she told me to get lost. 

Drifted around today, mostly cloudy and rain.  Felt antsy, like I needed to be going somewhere.  Sometimes the bug bites me and I wonder… “what am I hangin’ around for?” 

I moved alot when I was younger, back and forth… aimless.  Guess it started when I was a kid.  Never really had a home for more than a few months until I was in the sixth grade.  That upbringing put the wanderlust in me.  No real goals or desires, just being free…  I knew there was a big, bad ol’ world out there that I wanted to take hold of.  I wanted to experience things, see ’em up close and first hand… explore.

I hitch-hiked all over the country.  Slept under bridges and in parked cars, met people that helped me out and others that tried to take advantage of me.  Nearly froze to death in Montana during one winter, spent the night in a hospital.  Spent another night in a jail while passin’ through Cheyenne.  Always searchin’ for that elusive freedom, no strings, no responsibilities.  I’d get the brave highway itch and I’d just have to scratch it.  Sometimes I’d just hitch-hike to go somewhere.

I spent hours and rode many a mile on Greyhounds, slept in terminals with one eye open, panhandled money for something to do.  Snuck into theatres, hung out in museums, drank coffee in truck stops ’til the wee hours.  Made friends with Western Union, got stuck… needed money.  I was 16. 

Went from job to job, didn’t take no shit.  If I got pissed… I was gone… adios, sayonara, happy trails.

Sometimes the world isn’t the brass ring… you wish you could get off the merry-go-round.  You might even question your own sanity, your validity, the reason for your very being.  It is a tough place, a hurtful one if you are not careful… dangerous, unforgiving.  Cold.

My daughter is so much like I was then that I want to cry sometimes, for her… and myself.  Don’t go there, it isn’t safe for you.  3000 miles, out of reach, out of touch… I want you near, I say.  Just in case you need me.  It is easier for boys and it isn’t safe for them.  It wasn’t safe for me, I was lucky… I met her mother and settled down.  Became a man, became a better man than I ever could have while trying it my way. 

Rainy days like today… who needs them?  Who needs the struggle within when the easy way is so darn easy.  Turn your back, walk away… easy, right?  Forget your umbrella… let this rain just wash away all that bullshit, let it fill up those tracks that sunk with your weight in the mud.  That’s your reflection in the window… outside, looking away.  I don’t want my eyes to condemn me, those aren’t raindrops.

No, she needs me to stay here… I am a foundation, an institution, I am the voice on the phone when she is away and she is scared, or lonely because she had a fight… or worse yet, got a phone call.  Men are bastards, I say… I was a bastard. 

I want to chuck it all, the responsibilities and the headaches.  I want to run… it would be so easy.  Turn my back, don’t look back…

Cowards go, I tell myself… they take the easy way.  There is the brave highway now.  Somehow I got sidetracked, life put me on it… an unwilling participant but still navigating between the ditches.  Still counting road signs and walking those ribbons of asphalt, weaving between splinters of dotted white lines.  Dogs bark as I pass, threatening me… fields roll out to the horizon, birds chirp and follow along, dancing on fence posts or high voltage wire with impunity.  Katydids buzz a static monotone, dragonflies have dogfights while the air is filled with the aroma of barnyard animals, the farmers call it the smell of money.  Cars pass by… occasionally one honks to make me jump.  I’m not too close, the shoulder is just too narrow. 

There is no glamor, the romantic in me stinks from the baking sun…  my clothes look like I’ve slept in them and I’m hungry… I’m discusted with myself.  God, this rain! there is no rainbow… at times my feet are soggy and my heart is so heavy.  My soul is awash with regrets and the thoughts in my head plague me with doubt.   I want to go home and try again, take my place on the brave highway…

I’ve been here before…



6 Responses to “The Brave Highway”

  1. Chantal Says:

    You have an amazing gift for writing……This was sad & beautiful….I hold you in my heart, wishing rainbows for you after the rain….

  2. toejam Says:

    Well darn it.
    Come home and try again!
    What do you have to lose?
    There is not a thing your doing there that you can’t do here (other than staying warmer).
    Sure, it would be hard at first.
    But it’s not like you haven’t done it before.
    You have talent, brains, ethics, and most of all – people who love you and would do anything help you.
    You have said many times that change can be a good thing.
    Try it.
    You might find something you missed before.
    Might just be a lot of fun too.
    Don’t be afraid of the challenge.
    I’d help in any way I could.
    Again, think about it — what do you really have to lose?

  3. seamonster02 Says:

    You were a nomad – never staying in one place long, and certainly never staying home with Mom and the rest of us. Not to say that is bad, you had to find whatever it was you were searching for…something to believe in. How many times have I heard people, myself included, say there should be something more then just this business of getting through the every day. You have found your place and you will find someone to share it with…don’t be disheartened. Usually when we get the urge to runaway, it is really the time we should stand and fight – fortify the castle – forget the damn white flag…

    I wish our kids only took the best of our traits. We don’t want to see them take the same path because we know what is down that road and it isn’t safe. When my son moved to CA, it was the hardest thing in the world for me to watch him go but I knew he had to find his own way. It doesn’t profit the bird to have wings if we refuse to let them fly.

  4. msdane Says:

    I agree with Toejam–100%. You could shake the Florida dust off and come home to your family and those that love you. Of course there is some selfishness in me saying that too. I know you’re aware of that.

    To add my own two cents’ worth, the fact that you don’t run is proof now that you are a man and not a boy. A boy would run, a man figures it out and if he leaves, he has burned his bridges behind him. To walk away would be wrong. To put the wheels in motion so you could walk away with a clear conscience is the right way to do things and you wouldn’t be ashamed of yourself later. You would if you just ran away.

    Whatever you do I’m behind you 100%. I want you to be happy whether it is in Florida or Iowa, but I do believe you’d be happier in Iowa.

    Another way to look at it–Florida will always be there. You could come home and if you found it wasn’t what you wanted, Florida is still there to go back to . . .but I doubt you’d want to go back. You’ve lived over half your life in Florida now and you still miss home, so I think in your heart of hearts you know what to do.

    Love you, Brother.

  5. The Gorilla Guys Says:

    you convey with such power and truth.
    had to read it again.

  6. Kitty Says:

    Beautiful writing. You are a brave soul, too.

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