The snow is gone, so I took Brittany's car west on Main, toward the sunset.
I stopped and started past Broulim's and fenced houses and trees so bare that, from far away, they look fuzzed on top--like my knitted hat after so many wears. I finally found a long, vertical spread of road to follow at 65mph.
The sky ahead was orange and pink and dirty grey, and I could see the circle of the sun when I focused on the flat clouds surrounding it. My arms were cold, and I flicked the heat switch to Hi. I tried to see the colors of sage brush lining the road, but saw bright blue residue instead, where the sun had burned my eyes. The dots followed everywhere I looked and collected on themselves.
I took a deep breath to see if it would make things--the essays, the people who don't listen or care, the money, and the plans after graduation--leave me or make me feel different. It didn't, and headlights approached in the left lane, reminding me of everything I drove to escape.
I checked the gas gage: a quarter and a half tank left. I thought of the 16 dollars in my bank account and what the drive would cost me. I could freaking care less; I need this, I thought. And I passed a "Watch for Stock" sign.
I stopped at Beaver Dick Park, to see the sun dip lower into the mountains from a set of monkey bars. It was too cold to think, and the metal was hard, but the sun turned a golden orange. I climbed down, ate a tropical Trio bar, and continued my drive toward the colors.
I'll turn around at the next flap of road, I thought. I drove slowly, so the gas wouldn't burn faster than the decending sun. I drove on the left side of the road, I held down the horn, I screamed, and I thought of Darl from As I Lay Dying. I am as human as he is, I thought. I stopped at the flap of road and got out. I saw three snake holes and wouldn't walk any farther into the brush because of them, so I picked some weeds that grew on the outskirts of the road and continued to drive west with a chewing straw in my teeth.
I turned the music down and watched the flowing landscape--as much as I could watch without veering left or right. I heard the wheels on the road loudly shhhh me through the belly of the car. The hills on the sides of me were small and crowded with tiny blue sage bushes. The sky was big. I saw no headlights, no people, no glass bottles or wrappers, no powerlines, no houses, no beeping lights. I am small and alone. I drove on.
I reversed and turned around in the middle of the highway when I came to the first curve. I rolled the two front windows down, opened the sunroof, and blasted the heat to tame my goosebumps. My hair whipped around my eyelashes and into my mouth. I stretched my entire arm out of the window to feel the wind. I imagined God's hand grabbing mine through the air and picking me up and out of this life, toward Heaven, and setting me down again, because Frost says, "Earth's the right place for love." I suppose.
I rolled the windows up, closed the sunroof, turned up Mumford & Sons until my ears pricked, and drove toward darkness, watching the pink glow in the west from my rearview mirror.