Sometimes it gets bad and goes wrong and the walls press in close. The air is cold in spite of the sun and the wind whips through three long-sleeve layers.
What is it you require?
Ride south on a road you’ve never seen before past towns the back of your brain recollects faintly from the news. 80, 85, 90 and you loosen, hazy and feverish and shivering under your coat, but alive. Too much caffeine and too little water takes you out of your body to watch your life, a slow unspooling. Exit the highway and slow your way across the bay to the barrier island.
The beach is stacked high against the end of each eastbound street, sand where sand wasn’t and shouldn’t be. Each parking lot looks like the moon or something Hollywood Soviet. Buildings are boarded up and disused on account of the season or the surge. Pull up, hop out and crest the hill. The ocean is sitting there, pushing in against the sand. So peacoat and boots and chinos be damned, you run. It’s the only thing you can do to laugh like you can’t remember laughing and water at the eyes from the wind and your heart.
On the way back to the city, the radio waves straighten out and come to rest in 4/4:
“That morning sky gave me a look / so I left while you were sleeping — that’s all it took
I chalked a line south down the coast / going where my thirst was open for the things that I don’t know
Going where I wasn’t paying for the hurt that I owe …
That wind is calling my name / I won’t wait”
None of this brings her back. None of this changes anything. All of it means so much.