Stories in my Pocket: The Pitstop (Part 3)

Click here to catch up: Part 1, Part 2.

The grass bordering the highway swayed tamed and trimmed as we whirred past it with eight working wheels.  But up close, as I trudged toward the overpassing country road knee-deep in blades, it was wild and overgrown.  The unseen possibilities of snakes or spiders on my sandaled feet spurred a hurried, jumpy gait. 

"Remember the time we got stuck in the gorge--at Letchworth?  And it started to storm, and we cut through the swampy riverish part, and I freaked out about snakes?" 

"Yeah, why?"

"Well, I might be freaking out again.  That road looked a lot closer from the freeway, and I can't see my feet, and I'm wearing sandals...."

He laughed, not the slightest bit nervous. Or at least he never let on as such.  He took being "even keel" to extremes.  I used to swear that if our apartment was ever on fire, he'd let me know by tapping me on the shoulder and saying, "I think we should go now."

It was only twenty minutes before we found a house with a phone and an owner who believed in sharing with strangers.  I dialed and explained.  It's the tow dolly wheel--yes, it should be covered in the rental fee.  How soon can you be here?  An hour?  Okay, please hurry.

It was a scorching morning when we left Texas.  Steam and fog jumbled the air that evening in the lot by the Shoney's where we wished we hadn't stopped, or at least hadn't sampled the meat sauce.  Almost cool by the time we reached the rest stop on the other side of St. Louis, we stopped to see if we could substitute a cat nap for a good night's sleep. And now we waited motionless, stirred only in one second spurts by the vibrating breeze of a passing car. The air pressed heavy with heat, thick with water, uncommon for a late spring Indiana day.  

Our spare tire man must have sped, for he arrived before the promised hour was up.  And I could tell by the haircut he didn't have that he liked to go fast.  He spoke sparingly, but when we joked that he had the skill of a crew chief, he admitted to his days of changing tires in the pits of the Indy 500.   

Larry offered small talk about cars and races while I studied the map.  We drove away smiling. This would be a fun story to tell when we got to Ohio.  

We were almost there.  There, where life would be so much easier.  I sped like the tire man, surged ahead in thought and mapped it all out.  I knew just how it would be. I had been there for months before we even arrived.  Like an eighth grade girlfriend, I broke up with The Present weeks before school was out, my careful handwriting on college ruled paper to say it was over.  I am moving on.  I am over you. There are better things ahead.  

Every beginning brings with it fear, healthy or otherwise. Unless of course, naivety calls shotgun. Then fear takes a back seat, and the journey speeds with unintended courage.

I was afraid of snakes and spiders and of being a nobody. As it turned out, I was afraid of all the wrong things.

Click here to continue reading Part 4.

Photo by Alizadeh100

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