On the black current of a tarmac road, my wheels are spinning endlessly beneath me. I have not felt the open road like this in a very long time.
Forty miles outside of Vegas, in the desert, and I have an undying need to pull over and just inhale fresh air outside of this car for a while. Or push the pedal down and zoom by at 90. It's up in the air.
I choose fresh air and a cigarette and this is not something that I regret. Stretching my legs out on asphalt and staring down at the tiny particles that make it all up. Old tires, glass, rock, fool's gold. The shiny bits stick out to my eyes in the sun and, like a child, I am tempted beyond my means to try to dig it out.
The fingernails of my left hand scrape at the road but it is useless. This hot rock is not budging. I give up and examine what has come up under my nails. Dirt, dust.
I have heard that most of the dust on this planet is human skin. Dead flakes that have fallen off, unnoticeable to the donor, and drifted down to settle in its place. I wonder whose skin it is that has wound up under my nails this time. And at the same time I wonder whose nails my skin is under. And who is under my skin.
When I have finished my cigarette it takes me a moment to decide whether to pitch it to the wind or just simply throw it down on the road and stomp it. I stomp it.
I light another and lean up against the car this time, looking out over the desert. They call it the desert because it is deserted. For all of this emptiness you'd expect that looking out over it would be like looking into lonely. It's not. The desert can have a strange influence on a person. But lonely is not really part of the description. The desert is its own kind of ocean.
The heat is getting to me after spending hours in an air conditioned vehicle and the beads of sweat forming on my forehead remind me: yes, this is the desert, yes, it is always hot here, and no matter how beautiful, it is not for you. A jackrabbit hops out from behind a bush and stops to give me an odd look. As if he knows what I am thinking and he has the same need to tell me: keep moving.
A breeze that I do not even feel blows the jackrabbit’s bush around for a second and before I can scan the area to see if the other brush is moving as well, the breeze has all together stopped and I am left with only the heat radiating off the road. I finish the second cigarette and this time, I toss it, using my index finger to flick it off towards the bush. Part of me wants the last spark to send the bush up in flames, as if it is a silent attempt to say, here desert, take this. If I can’t have you, then no one can.
On a black tarmac road, forty miles outside of Vegas and my wheels slowly begin rolling again. This is not the first stop, nor the last. The feeling overwhelms me; this is going to be a long trip.