A hat and a neon sign, justaposed

Photo by Atonino Visali on Unsplash

Tell it to me, cosmic rays of light, jumbled singing guitar.

Shedango, Cattoriphori. Shentznashegins, Oopla, Sassifrass a rooni.

And that’s all there was and I just held on with all my power, craving it, wanting it, needing only to be that one lick.

I thunder on the drums too, into the voice of heaven.

Waking up in the truck’s cab, my shoulders ache like my body. I can barely feel my toes. I pulled an all-nighter and it froze. Diner’s not open till 5. Restroom’s open though: they know we truckers gotta do our business every so often regardless of the schedules of our fellow humans.

I’m just so tired of this shit.

Hell. Anyways, a little bit of joy streaks in with the first orange in today’s sky. I can feel my heartbeat. I do this part-time to make money for the rest of the year, so I can go on tour and not stress. I’m not a couch surfer like so many of the young musicians I know. I love the way they flow through existence, trusting. Man, that’s not for me. I like it alone in between so that I can recover. What’s that thing my daughter calls me? Oh yeah, an introvert. I recover in the quiet on the road alone.

Ah, the meatballs. Ah, my heartbeat. Ah, the lozenges. Ah, this racy town.

I reach in and palm my belly where the jeans have dug in as I slept. They’re okay were I standing. Or had I a full lay-down bed. Shit, I should drive in sweatpants. Except then I might fall asleep. I think with longing of the warmth and comfort of sweats and a soft couch, get lost imagining no vehicle to haul. Saturday afternoon maybe, sunny. I’ll just dose for a little while, I smile and nestle in. Sleep for three hours. Awake feeling a thousand times better than I’ve felt in weeks. Yes. We’ll play poker and try not to eat all the bad food laying around us. I pull out an apple and the guys just look at me and laugh. But it tastes good. Real pure like a mountain stream and I eat it all the way down.

Screw you guys if you can’t take my finer qualities,” I say as I head out onto the porch. Sun’s setting over the blue mountains. It makes my heart feel butter yellow and achy at the same time. I’m glad I wore the jean jacket with the fleece lining. Fleece like sheep. It keeps me warm.

I don’t know what will happen to me next. Our writer doesn’t really know what’ll become of us. I take off my hat and wave to her. I’m handsome and I know it and she smiles back at me. I leave the porch and begin to walk in my brown leather cowboy boots down the dirt road. I hunker like an old vehicle. I feel hopeless then, like an old jalopy. The ringtones on my daughter’s phone I hear like they are metallic. I don’t belong to this world. No one does. Yet all the ads and social media posts and everyone pretends that everyone else does belong. They all belong somewhere where they are happy and held. I just can’t pretend anymore. I will die here tonight waiting for morning.

And then, somehow the Diner opens and instead I shuffle up. Warmth welcomes me with the light. I am ushered to a booth in the back corner. Though I am also clearly welcome at the counter, I need to sit where I can put my head on my arm and rest for a few minutes without anyone being scared. There will be pancakes. Fuck my diet. A man can only have discipline when he is home. On the road, it’s too lonely for being a hard-ass on oneself. We each can and must take all the comfort we can as we suffer and die. And I feel grateful for the warm heat and light and now I wish I’d sat at the counter for more conversation. In fact, I will go up there, I think.