You can travel on 10,000 miles and still stay where you are...
We'd planned a trip.
An epic trip.
A loop all over and around the country. To all the places we'd dreamed about but had never been to.
We'd never gone as far as planning the route. Or discussing where we'd go.
But it always had been there. In the background. On the list.
This would happen. We would do it.
I didn't know when. I didn't know how.
But I knew. And so did she.
And back then, nothing else mattered.
The trip never happened.
Maybe it wasn't meant to happen.
Maybe we were too young. Or the circumstances were wrong.
Or the planets weren't aligned properly.
But it never happened.
And for years I never thought about it.
Until recently. Late at night.
Not in the familiar urban freeways.
Out in the middle of nowhere.
Where the exits are dozens of miles apart.
And the trees lining the highway cut it off from nothing but open land.
Out there, in the dark, that's where I remember.
That trip. The one we never took.
And I wonder how far I'd need to drive to get there.
Which truck stop she'd be waiting at.
What insanely small knapsack she'd be carrying, thinking it had everything she'd need for weeks, months, or years on the road.
And I pull over before the exit.
Sit and think of her for a moment.
Wondering if she ever went to the places we wanted to go. If those places are still there.
When the stillness of the universe wraps around me and the car, I know I have to make a decision.
Take the exit and return home. Or stay on the road. Into the night. Into the unknown.
The engine whispers "Go."
But engines never tell you what direction to take.