We all have our places that we go when we’re hurting or we need to be alone. Sometimes, it’s the middle of a football field, sometimes it’s laying at halfcourt. For some, it’s the edge of humanity, where the road meets dirt and the grass meets fields. For others, it’s the center of humanity, where the world never sleeps and the streets are alive and run with every colour in the wind.
I sit behind the wheel of my truck, and i’m waiting. I’m in a place where I know that nobody will find me, where I will run into no one that I know and see nobody that I care about. I am nervous, nervous. Nervous so bad.
I’m a wreck, again. Something about exam time, and how most of the bad events in my life seem to correlate with exam times, that just reminds me of the past, the present and the future. I’m tired of thinking, I’m tired of being stressed out. I want someone to understand me, I want someone to understand what i’m thinking, I want someone to feel how I feel, to see how I see, just for one second.
The sun is setting. I can see the light shining through the trees as I wait for the stoplight, and the song on the radio isn’t pleasing anymore. I’m starting to hate this bullshit that they’re always playing, I just want to relax, please God, I just want to get back to my center. Come on, come on. Fuck it, let’s see if I can’t find something on my phone.
How about a little test drive, down by the lake? There’s a place I know about, where the dirt road runs out, and we can try out the four wheel drive…
I used to come back here to run away from the devil. These back streets and one lane roads of the country that we seemed to forget that existed right behind us, they’ve seen the worst of me. I get across the bridge, the water flowing right under my truck, the steady clanking of the metal under my tires letting me know that i’m safe in the arms of the road. I get out of my car, and I stand on the bridge, and I know that no one will come along and make me move. All I can hear is the water and the faint music from my truck, and a bird chirping in the tree above me.
I used to get back here to get away from her eyes. I never told anyone this before, but I suppose that this is as safe a place as any. It was her eyes that bothered me the most, I think. It’s fucked up, there’s a scene in that movie, 50/50, where the guy thinks he’s going to die because of his cancer, and he’s sitting in the car, and he just starts screaming. And the guys in the theater start laughing, because it’s one of those uncomfortable moments where you wait for the music in the background to tell you whether it’s okay to laugh or not, and the music never comes, so you just kind of chuckle to yourself at how quasi emotional it all is, and I mean really, who just screams in their car? It’s funny, when I saw that scene, I knew as soon as he was about to do it, what he was going to do, and that one scene threw me off for the rest of the night. Maybe it’s because I’ve been there, I’ve walked that road, to understand. I’ve been that guy, screaming in his car at the top of his lungs so bad that he went hoarse for a few days.
I used to get away back here because I secretly hoped that someone would hit me as I came around a corner and i’d be done and over with.
Now i’m here for an entirely different reason. I get back into the truck and keep driving, the gravel crunching beneath the weight of the tires, and I open it up a bit, rolling along at half the speed limit, the street widening every minute.
I’m an asphalt cowboy, born to run underneath the stars, pay no mind to my lonely heart, I just ride…
There’s no one on this road but me. But that’s okay, because I know that civilization is just back the way I came, and I’ll never let it worry me that there’s no one around. The road looks so wide and open, and I can’t help but slow down to a crawl. I want to enjoy this, I want to keep this slow, because i don’t know the next time that i’m going to get to do this. I don’t know where I’m going. I found this place not too long ago, and it’s the best place in the world because it’s right behind my house and i’ve never really explored it beyond my occasional drives. I just pick a direction, and I drive. I never really know where i’m going. I just love the drive.
The road rises to meet me even as I hit the gas, and speed off, the tires moaning under the weight of the car, a soft touch left and the road tilts, and oh, it’s no one but me out here. The sun is setting now, and i’m driving into the sunset, and I can feel the sun hot on my arms and it feels like a dose of happy, a long needed one.
This road doesn’t look like all the other ones. There’s something about this road, that tells me that it’s different. But that’s okay. I already know how – it’s because for the first time, I don’t know how it’s going to end. And that’s fine really, because I have no intention to find out.
I drive fast now, the fields flying by. And for the first time, i’m not trying to outrun my past, I’m trying to keep up with my future. I can see the road now, and this road is familiar, i’ve been here before. I remember what seems like a generation ago, just a few months ago, just a few weeks ago, in reality, I was here, walking on this road, my truck a long way behind me, and I could feel my eyes watering as I thought of all I had been through to get there once again, since that day. I can see the road now, I can feel the wind now. It’s colder, they’re both colder, but they’re still the same roads, the same wind that have seen my tears. I have been to countless places, I have seen countless things. I have done countless things, but this, this here is something special. It is so far, yet so near.
These streets, this dirt, this road, this asphalt, they have my tears, my sweat, my blood. The ground here, is sacred ground. This is my ground. This is where I’ve grown up, all at once. This is my stomping grounds, this is my football field, this is my court. This is my field of gold, this is my center of humanity. There is no one here but me and the asphalt, and all the things that it’s seen. All the memories i’ve shared with it, when I didn’t want to talk to anyone, i’ve shared it with the asphalt. Whether it was my cheek pressed up against it, laying on the floor after another beat down, or roasting it, flying along at four times the speed limit without a soul in sight for miles.
I have loved many women, but not nearly as much as I’ve loved this. I stop the truck, and I get out, and sit on the ground, my back pressed up against the front, the heat from the engine bathing me as the sun finally gets beaten by the night. It’s getting late, and I should be getting home, but I love this place too much. I don’t know where I am anymore. It’s all the same to me, the same road, stretching for miles in whatever direction I want it to.
It’s funny, I’ve told women about my past. Only seems to make them act stranger around me. They like me before, then they suddenly don’t, and i’m in the friendzone. Or they don’t like me before, and then suddenly, they want to know everything that’s going on in my head. You’re the only one who has never judged me, and that’s why i’m only the real me when I see the real you.
It’s funny, but I don’t think i’ve ever meant I love you so much, but I do. I really do. It sounds stupid, but I don’t think I really want a girlfriend right now. I don’t feel certain about it anymore. I don’t think I want a girlfriend at all. It’s all so fucking messy. So many emotions, so many things that I’ve got to say, so many things that they want to hear or don’t want to hear or want to be a part of or don’t want to be a part of, and that’s if you actually manage to find a sane one that likes you, and that you know will work out, and don’t even get me started on that.
No, you’re the only person in my life who has never asked me for anything but honesty. It’s fucking strange, but every single relationship i’ve had since I fell in love with the road has been based on that relationship. Honesty over all. That’s all I ever really cared about. And that’s all the road ever really cared about either.
The sun is about to dip below the trees, so I should probably finish this up.
I go out here when the wind blows cold or too hot, and my brain gets all fuzzy and I can’t remember the man that i’m supposed to be, the man that I love. It’s not easy, being me. I’m not trying to bitch and moan, just trying to say that it’s not easy. And this is how I get away, this is my spot. You can’t find me on a rooftop, waiting for you to show up like a romantic comedy. You won’t be able to locate me on the beach, waiting for the waves to come up and lick my feet, and you won’t be able to see me in a park, reading and bathing in life.
I’ve done those things, and they’re all really fun. Hell, I love them all. But the one thing that i’ll never lose, is this road. I have wept on this road. I have said things that I know that it understands. There is no one that will ever be able to fully understand me as much as this asphalt, under my fingers, warm and cold all at the same time. There is no one who will be able to sympathize as much as the dirt on the side of the road, the fields of gold as I drive by them, the lanes in the road as they fly by, one by one in a constant blur. And i’m okay with that.
People have always thought that writing is my best ability, that how I love writing. Yes, I love writing. Yes, i’m fairly decent at it.
But driving…now that’s my first, last, and only true love.
I guess, in the end, i’m just a Ghost Rider, huh?
On my highway, I missed some signs, and left a damn good love behind,
I see her in my rearview like a Ghost.
On my highway, I’ve broken down, and cried when no one else was around,
And prayed that God would save my soul.
Yeah, I’ve paid a lot of heavy tolls…
But what a feeling, chasin’ the sun,
Livin’ my life like it’s shot from a gun,
Yeah, what a feelin’, out on the run, drinkin’ up the rain, soakin’ up the sun…
Laughin’ a little bit more with every mile.
Oh what a freedom, racin’ the wind,
Not lookin’ back, not forgettin’ where I’ve been…
Dyin’ to know what’s around the next bend,
Smilin’ as I watch the years roll by.
I’m movin’ on from my mistakes…
I’m learning how to take it day by day…on my highway.