Not quite half way


I always forget how bad the road is until we get back on it.

We think we blink and we get to where we’re going, forgetting the drudgery of each mile between here and there.

Hitching out of LA is easy.

Nearly everybody tries to get out once they get there.

But not everybody is going our way and needs to leave us some place when they turn away from our chosen path.

This time we get dumped at the crossroads just on the verge of the Mojave deserve – two long metal sided warehouse buildings keeping us company along with the barbed wire-topped fence with signs saying “Keep Out.”

Perhaps in day light, we might see people, but this late at night we get only the glow of LA 30 or something miles behind us – like the afterglow of the Atomic bomb teachers told us would hit our big cities some day. We’re also near a highway sign that gets lit up each time a car passed and doesn’t stop, the headlights reminding us of just how far we still have to go: Phoenix: 350 miles.

The desert is nearly as cold at night as it is hot during the day, and we coming from Hollywood aren’t dressed for it.

We should consider ourselves lucky since this cold won’t quite kill us the way the heat would, but the traffic – when there is any – rushes passed us, unaware that we exist until they are too far ahead to sop.

In daylight, someone might feel sorry enough for us to pick us up and drop us off at a truck stop.

Instead, we stand here like cacti, our shadows growing at the trucks pass, our arms growing heavy from the effort to wave them down.

I almost want to go back, even when I know we have nothing to go back to, just the same old routines of the world’s hippest city, our faces lost in the floor of Midwest refugees, each going there to find something magical among the sidewalks full of stars.

I admire the real stars, the sky full of stars, even as my teeth chatter, even as I dream of home and the warmth my numb mind struggles to figure out why I bothered to leave, why I ran away, why I can’t go back.

I am stuck here, not quite half way between where I was and where I’m going, wondering if the trip is at all worth the fuss of taking.



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