Friday, January 21, 2005

An old friend of mine one day packed up and left town without telling anyone that he was going; he left notes on a few windshields and hit the road to go and find Answers in his beat up old car and vast expanses of cornfields. For years no one heard anything from him except for the odd postcard stained with diner gravy and too-strong coffee. As suddenly as he had disappeared, he showed back up on my doorstep, gaunt and stretched looking--as though if you touched his skin you might tear through it and let out whatever was inside. I reached up to pinch his cheeks but couldn't find them and instead touched my fingers to the side of his neck, looking for a pulse.
We went for a drive, and he alternately soothed and kneaded the steering wheel, unable to stop moving. Twitching. He took all the corners too fast. His red and black striped t-shirt reminded me of a Where's Waldo book.
At some point I couldn't stand my curiosity anymore and asked him what the hell he'd been up to out there with all the driving. I wanted Answers. But he told me that there were no Answers. He had found nothing profound on the road.
Except the thing is that I never heard from again after that drive, not directly. His mother told us that he had moved to the Northeast to go to law school. It didn't make sense at the time, but now I've spent the last few years poking into nooks and crannies for my own Answers. And I think that he found them, and that they were different than the ones he had prepared for.

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