I have a car with a tank full of gas, a map on the passenger seat with destinations pinned on it, a playlist of my favorite songs and an unresolved thirst of getting up and running away, just by myself.
So, I do it.
Heart beating, nerves scattered and adrenaline thumping, I throw my duffel bag into the back seat and run around the car, climb in and buckle myself in. I hit the road.
I roll down the windows and the wind kisses my worries and my fears away, one mile at a time. I hum along with the song Cars and Telephones pulsing from my radio. I rip off my hair band and shake my hair down, letting it fly wildly in the wind.
Soon, the familiar sights fade away, like my frown slipping away and a smile tugging at its place. I stare at the odd buildings and the unfamiliar roads. I breathe in the untainted air and I tip my face back and soak in the warm sunshine. I press down on the gas harder.
I arrive at my first destination, an old country bookstore called Words. It’s small and tucked away, but it’s beautiful. Garlands of lilies wrap around the entrance and soft, yellow globe lamps light the place up from the inside. The musty smell of pages and ink greet me as I step inside, eyes bright and cheeks rosy. An old man sits behind the counter and shoots a fleeting smile at my direction, then goes back to reading.
I spend hours in that bookstore, roaming around, sniffing books and reading them. I lose myself in the fiction, but know that for once, it’s not as sweet as my reality. I finally make my way out of the haven of books and, just as I’m walking away, I notice that someone has engraved something on the wooden entrance with a sharp object, maybe a knife. I come closer and make out the words, “Words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away.” I recognize them as some old 90’s song’s lyrics.
I drive away and watch the sun tear across to the other side of the sky and then I watch it melt into the darkness of the night. The sky is a swirl of flaming orange, purple and black.
After a couple of hours, I park my car on the shoulder of the long, empty road and climb out. I had noticed a Street food vendor and, after a while, I return back to my car with a container of steaming fish and chips in my hand. I lean against the hood of the car and eat the food slowly and savor every bite.
There’s nothing in front of me but miles and miles of untraveled road. Trees line the road on either side of me but I don’t feel trapped. I look at the night sky and the longer I look at it, the more stars I see. Soon, the blackness of the sky is peppered with tiny silver pinpricks of light and I realize that I’ve never felt so tiny, so free and so infinite before
And in that moment- in the middle of the road, under the starry sky- for what seemed like the first time in forever, I breathe.
I breathe. I smile. I laugh.