By: Antwan Crump
I made my way to the station hoping I’d never have to go back. Small towns are a prison. That one, takes pride in doubling as an asylum for the weak of heart.
These, twenty-five years, have taught me, that when life seeks to drown you with society, it’s time to make a drastic change. Drastic change -rarely happens without an impulsive action. This was mine.
I received a hell of a welcoming from this dingy place. You’d think liberation would come with flowers and a three piece orchestra. Instead, I was greeted by liberation’s rusty bumper and the sounds of an argument – in a language that could likely get us all deported.
We try not to judge our surroundings, especially when they offer opportunity, but damn it -that place smells like a fat witches crotch. So, I did what we all do -when drunk on the excitement of a brash decision. I spread her legs and entered.
The inside was surprisingly well kept. Most of the spiderwebs were too high to walk through. The linoleum floors -only partially stained- with poorly mopped up blood. The insects and families of mice -ever so politely- evading my rolling suitcase. This was it. I had passed the point of no return.
I’d like to think that it made me smile, but not too widely. I wouldn’t want the dense mixture of ammonia and marinating urine to have further access to my insides -because my mouth was open.
Okay. Yes. It’s a shithole. But, for now, this is my shithole. My father used to say, that life was essentially an ass anyway, ‘as filthy as you let it get’. This is suitable enough.
Damn. My father.
I forgot to tell him that I was leaving. We’d arrived at this very station, some years ago. Trying to escape the big shitty. My dad was always one for small, slow-paced places. It reminded him of his own childhood, ‘nice and easy’. Though, he did end up impregnating the ‘bag of meth, with legs’, that was my mother – so, you shouldn’t get too charmed by his small town perspective. ‘Pobody’s Nerfect’, and all of that.
I didn’t even bother to get a ticket. It’s two in the morning. Graveshift drivers, only want three things. To get high, get blown, and get high again. They never care for much else, that is unless you start trouble.
Speaking of trouble. Excuse me for a moment.
“Can I help you?”
I should’ve been more embarrassed to do that. But, I’ve got a pocketful of fuck-its. Besides, we got some time to kill, and this doesn’t seem like the appropriate time to get high with a stranger.
There’s our ride. That, my friend, is a classic nineteen-seventy-something. The best this town has to offer. Fully equipped with: a ripped spare tire, approximately three broken windows, worn brake pads, and a driver who looks like he’s been up for about three days. You starting to see why it’s time for me to get out of here?
I figure I’ll go over to the next town, then the next. Until I make it down to the city. I’ll make some friends there. Maybe a job. Stay at a shanty little place for a while. In no time, I’ll be able to get everything in order.
I bet I’ll get used to the city way of life. I might even meet a girl! Imagine. Me. A father. Or even a dead-beat dad! Wrestling with the universe, at odds with society, as I fight -for what’s rightfully mine! I could be some average Joe.
That’s the magic of it all. We don’t know. We can’t know. No pressure. We just move along with the celestial savanna. Take in the sun. Bask in the risk. Actually live, a life – instead of merely becoming one. Doesn’t that sound amazing?
It may be a fantasy. But, damn it! I can see it so clearly. Sure, there’ll be hard times. Hell, I could be pushed to limits that I can’t even fathom. I might be shot, or stabbed, or get into some trouble, or fail. But there’s got to be something. There’s got to be more than this. This deafening stillness. This glacier of startling mediocrity. This permanence. There’s got to be more.
You see that? That shart mobile. With the old man, dusty mirrors, and springy seats, that’ll probably rip my pants to shreds on the trip. That’s it. That’s already better than the world behind us. That’s better than the living cemetery that we come from.
That’s life, on life’s terms. Not a bubble of fear and monotony. That’s our ticket to Eden. Don’t fear it. Remember, the trip becomes a footnote, once you’ve reached the destination. Dwell in the now.
Damn you, dad. Still teaching me.
– that’s our call.
Listen, you can stay here if you want to. Damn it, maybe you even need to. I can’t do it any longer. I can’t lie anymore. I can’t stay here, and I refuse to go back there. This is your chance. Are you willing, or will you cower?
You’re only a few steps away.
You also owe me a story.
The driver’s almost done with his pipe.
Come on. It’ll be fun.