Confidently gripping the steering wheel in my right hand, I dangle my left arm lazily out of the open window feeling the warm metal of my driver’s side door.
I am cruising across the Midwest trying to rope in the retreating summer air. The wind belly laughs in rhythmic exhales and the cornstalks whip in a fury. The gusts push my vehicle toward the shoulder of the road like a playful shove.
There is no particular destination. Just a general direction toward a city that I’m not quite sure I’m ready to embrace. I have taken the back country roads and am maneuvering the scarred black top with caution and controlled enthusiasm as I’m sure the highway patrol aren’t going to catch me weighing heavy on the gas pedal tonight.
A sluggish river appears. Swollen and muddy its waters push out to the bank as if stretching after a grand dinner. My car crawls to 25 as I try to understand how this gravel road I am now cruising on seems to be below the river’s surface height.
My imagination takes over and I picture the waters crashing out of its banks in pursuit of my car; catfish and water moccasins caught in the current catch on my antenna and side mirrors.
I return to reality and notice a sign for a drive in movie theater. For a second I feel like I have driven through a portal and am in another time, but the innocent white billboard, peeling and tired, is replaced half a mile down by a collage of restaurants and gas station advertisements promising to fulfill all my travel needs, reminding me that I never did escape.