Go west.

Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean

If we left now, we would be there soon.

We would get in the car and drive.  And drive.  And drive.  With our feet up on the leather seats of your car and our boots strewn across the backseat.  We would roll the windows down and turn the AC off and let the wind rush through our hair.  I would stick my hand out and the open air would lick my palms and I would tickle it back with my fingers painted blue, polish chipped.  You would keep your focus on the road, but lower your aviators onto the bridge of your nose so you would really see the road with your un-lensed eyes.  I would take your sunglasses off your head and put them on and smile at you.  You would tell me not to change.  I won’t if you won’t.

As we ride our way through long stretches of ground and hills and cows and nothing, of long and short grasses and swaying wheat and sunsets, we would argue over which songs to listen to on the radio.  We would play guess that frequency, and I would win the most number of correct guesses in relation to the shortest bouts of static.  We wouldn’t like white noise or silence, but not because we didn’t have anything to say. We would have a lot to say.

Boston would be a distant memory, an Augustana song we heard from time to time – maybe when we were driving through Arizona.  We would compare the landscapes before us to the relative height of the Pru, the languid weaves and winds of the canyons far more interesting than the crews and their lapping paddles, their lithe, narrow boats racing on the Charles.  But we wouldn’t think on it too long.

We would get out of the car at each sunset and sit on the hood, or take a walk through the Western expanse.  We would knit our hands together like cable sweaters.  We would drag our heels against the dust, and shield our eyes as the sky becomes ablaze in pinks and purples and other impossible colors that we would romanticize.  And then when, all suddenly, the horizon becomes sheepish, modest again, you would pull me to you, your left hand on my back and your right hand curled around mine.  I would sing “Cheek to Cheek” quietly with a chorus of crickets and desert life accompanying me, and I would remember this forever.

When we get there, we would itch for a time when we could go back to that moment in the desert in the middle of nowhere on our way to somewhere else: where we would be surrounded by the very essence of living, of nothing and everything, and we’d feel found, but no one would find us.  Because when we get to where we were going out west, we’d be somewhere again, locatable, just two other people lost in the throng, just like everyone else.

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