Me: Sometimes I feel like I’m way out on a branch, and I feel the wind blow, and at any moment the branch could break, and I’d fall.
Skyspook: Or fly.
“What brought you to Ohio?”
The honest answers always sound crazy. Desperation, loneliness, a sense of impending doom, the need to start a life that’s 100% my own in a place where my family name means nothing.
So I used to lie, say something that made sense to people. “For work.” Or I gave a technically true answer that revealed nothing. “I have a lot of friends out here.”
The choice was a) sit in a dark hole for a couple of years, watching lit screens, eating gas station pizza, moldering, or b) come to Ohio.
I suppose there would have been other choices eventually if I had stayed put for a while longer, explored other options. But I was tired of waiting. I’d been waiting most of my life.
I remember that first morning, the Greyhound forging through Pennsylvania farmland at sunrise, the Amish man in the adjacent seat close to dying on my watch, his cough rattling like a dish rag being wrung, and my now ex-husband snoring loudly, a few seats away, a welcome change from his protests and complaints. As I’d removed him from the tomb we shared, newly exhumed, he was out for blood or at least a little sympathy.
As a passenger, I got lost in time, plunged into flow. My eyes were flooded by the gray expanse of I-90. Twenty-three hours we rode, like a great exodus across the desert, the Midwest unfolding like a plot I knew by heart, despite it being my first time there.
At one rest stop, a worker manned a sub shop alone. I couldn’t tell him when I asked for ranch that fat-free was unacceptable and chewed on my naked salad, sat alone in that terminal waiting for the bus to be cleaned.
It’s just not something people do, move 900 miles to somewhere random after a few visits, following a hunch that you’d fit in better than where you are, acting so decisively on what amounts to a crapshoot, several degrees removed from everything you’ve ever known.