Diagram of an Upset

Highway 1

Highway 1

Nonononononono. Take back what you said. I can’t get up. I have fallen and I can’t get up.

I think I’ll go for a drive. A nice long drive along the coast. Why don’t I do this more? I remember that tall thin statesman like friend from when I worked for the government. He lived near here. Somewhere up that hill. He must be dead now. He was old then. I’ll be dead one day. Why do I take things so to heart that I will forget in a year, maybe even a week, depending what happens next.

I do love to drive. It’s like all the detritus of my brain is dislodged by the movement through space and time simultaneously. Like I am actually driving away from myself. And I find a newer cleaner self every mile. Like when I fly and look down on the earth from a plane, but not quite so jarring. Not like everything I’ve held dear is an illusion, just like I am freer to know myself, and forget what you want and what you need.

Whoops. Now I feel guilty. I shouldn’t be driving at all. I should have stayed to fight, to deal with it. Running away. That’s all I’m good for. You’ll say that when I get back. Do I have to go? Back? I know the next 1,000 miles like the back of my hand. I know a place to stay at the end of the drive. To forget. Where everyone goes to forget. I could just be a beach bum, a tour guide in Baja. How long would it take for the guilt to catch up with me?

That pie place is in the next town. I could stop there. I don’t want to lose my drive, but I could stop there. I could call you. … Ah, there’s the sound. You texted. Next exit. At a parking lot outside an A&W I read, “I love you. I’m sorry. Please come home.”

-Susannah Raulino

2010.04.14 Book back cover touched up done

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