August 18, 2016. On this day, I made a historic victory by walking to my mailbox for the first time in months.
August 18, 2017. I’m sorting a week’s worth of clothes for the road. Streamlining, rolling every necessary bit of my life into thin, lean cylinders. There’s only so much that fits in a single bag, and I have no idea where we’ll be sent…
A year. August, September, October, November, and December all rolled into 2017. Then January, February, March. April, May, June. July. And now…
Now, preparing to go out on the road again. Keep myself afloat for weeks at a time, living and working out of a van while the miles roll by and cents turn into dollars. With purpose, determination, destinations. Wide swathes of desert this time, maybe, nights contemplating while I wait for the sun to rise in the sideview mirror. Till it’s my turn to crash beside the freight, sleep for a bit before climbing back into the cab. Living a life that would have terrified me a year ago, would have been impossible, because I couldn’t even get myself out of the box I was trapped in.
Sad conversation three days ago, talking over things with soon-to-be-ex-husband. Acknowledging all the ways our marriage unravelled. All the ways it was inevitably falling apart. Wiping tears off my face, wondering how can it still make me cry, how can it still hurt…
“It was gone a long time ago”
“I held you back, I stunted you”
“I neglected you”
“I’m sorry, too”
September 22, I packed a bag and left that house, and since then…
I broke. Cried into my hands so many times. Ran from one place to another while all the things I thought were solid crumbled apart. Struggled to breathe. Couch-surfed. Worked and waited while half my life sloughed off like dead skin.
There was so much grief. Sometimes I felt like I was cutting off parts of myself. Carving out the things that no longer belonged to me. Things dropping out of my hands from impossible heights, knowing they were gone from this world. Just memories, now.
If I’d known where I would be a year later—if I’d known how much I would, I could survive—would I have been scared?
Or would it have given me hope?
I don’t know.
I’ll never know.
But the person I am now is almost weightless.
I need the black-and-silver hum of the road. The endless circle, endless cycle of living in constant motion. Stopping for coffee at lonely gas stations in Oklahoma at 2 AM, humming along to Modest Mouse, waiting for Jess to crawl up and reach for his coffee, asking “where are we” and “what time is it?” Screaming, laughing hysterically 45 minutes outside of Laredo because we are so ready to drop the freight and drop to sleep.
That’s all it took.
This weekend, I’ll drop off the stuff I don’t need at the storage unit. Stare at the remnants of my old life. Wonder how much of it I really need. Whether I’ll ever need any of it again.
And then I’ll pull the shutter down and walk out. Close the door on the old life, and walk back to the new one.