I was alone
Travelling Interstate 80
Following the route of the early Western pioneers
2900 miles across the midsection of America
Stretching from the East Coast to California
In Utah home to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The land becomes flat and straight
Large signs on the edge of the road
Warn drivers about fatigue and drowsiness
Tired and hungry
I drove on
Watching shadows move in the sunlight
Day turning into night
On an empty highway
Finally I stopped at a place off the road.
An old woman showed me around
On a warm evening
Life is a delusion she said
There are terrible people out there
You ought to be careful
Cause you’re young you know.
The room was small
Fan cutting through the humid air
Telephone ringing in an empty room
In the shadows
She pointed to a spot
Where an old man died
We kept the shabby couch she said
Too expensive to throw out
We’re as practical
And frugal as the Mormons
So we kept it.
No sense in thinking about it any more
The more you think
The more mixed up you get
Besides it’s wide
A bed for two and very comfortable.
I tried paying for the room
She looked in my face
Searching for something
Then down at the crumpled bills in my hand
Wetting her fingers she counted the money
I don’t know if you kids have everything
Or you have nothing
Time and experience will tell
Then she handed some of the money back to me
I don’t need that much
Beside it’s only money Son
That’s all it is
Life is short
You hold on to it
You’ll need it later
I looked puzzled
We all have our secrets.
I was up early next morning
When the old woman appeared
I figured you’d be leaving soon she said
Yes I replied
Going to look for family out there?
No just myself
Lightly touching my arm she said
Don’t be afraid. You’re young. There’s always been magic in a young heart
The roads are clear this time of morning.
Ride straight and you’ll do fine.
The engine revved up
I was moving at 60, then 70, then 80
Windows wide open
Wind pouring in
Not another car on the road
I was alive
I was free
The morning belonged to me.