9.18.2006

Day One, Part Two

The day continued to be awful. When I stopped shaking, I got back on the Vespa and onto a long flat road through the countryside and into farming land. The day had gotten hot, I presumed it was over 100 degrees. Feedlots lined the road, crammed with cows standing in the dirt like lost souls in limbo. Their stench hung in the hot air; when semis passed in the opposite direction, the furling air and horrible smell conspired to knock me off my ride. Overwhelmed, nervous and lost, I wondered what the hell I was doing.

As the feedlots faded down the road behind me, traffic dissipated and thousands of tiny yellow butterflies whirled and danced in the air for one long stretch of the road. A beautiful sight - but tears fought for release as the butterflies splattered against my Vespa, against my face shield, against my jacket; unavoidable deaths because of their number.

Soon I reached the cities of the Central Valley and traveled surface roads north to Sacramento. A bank sign in Stockton showed the temperature was 109. I was dripping with sweat in my black leather, and forced myself to drink a sip of water at each stoplight, wondering when, when, would this day end? When would I finally reach Sacramento and my grandmother's little trailer?

When I did reach my grandmother's home, I opened the door and fell to the floor, unable to walk or move, and sobbed out all the overwhelm and stored fear and self-pity. I truly believed that day might be both the first and the last day of my trip. It was a day that lasted ten, and though I couldn't possibly fathom it at that point, I would soon learn with delight they all would be.

1 comment:

Norah Nick said...

Perfectly understandable. I ended up crumpled on the floor, sobbing, when my little sister, dog, and two cats made it to Los Angeles, in a 20' truck. I'd never driven a truck in my life and once I got to our new apartment I didn't know how to park it or get my car off the trailer or unhook the trailer from the truck. Thank god for my new neighbors who took care of it all while I sobbed into my new rug.