I don’t have a plan in the world. I have the wide open sky and a bag of dried mangoes. My last girlfriend called them slices of sunshine.
I have kept the phrases my friends and I made up. A teenager is “a case of ginger ale”, empty praise from the human resources director is “a licorice reward”, and the rocks that reach out into the bay of the small town where I grew up is “where the dragon fell asleep a thousand years ago”. There are others I can tell you if we meet. These phrases are the best things I am keeping. The things I left behind were difficult to part with. Otherwise there would be no virtue in giving them up. There was a Spanish helmet everyone thought preposterous, but that I loved. There was my guitar that, miraculously, stayed in tune for three straight years. There was my best friend.
Is it crazy to take a bus this far? The route follows secondary roads where towns have had time to grow, places you cannot reach any other way. The curves, the stops, the boredom. I only wish it could take longer. I wanted this so badly. I could have flown, but that would ruin it—too clean, too impersonal.
When I arrive I will step straight down onto the broken asphalt of the parking lot. I will part my lips to breathe and let the dry air dry me, Austin. I will be in the thick of your scent, your dust. Any change worth making has to come up from the ground with the heat, has to press against the soles of the feet.
I don’t know who you will be; I have rinsed my expectations clean. But I want to feel that rush of nerves, to laugh with you without knowing where laughter leads, to kiss you without knowing how a kiss can thrill. And you will give me a new phrase.