01 April 2014

the anger was for your protection

text and photography: katie beth

Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York; the red barns, silver silos, and swaths of snow stretching over grass hills.

The long stretches of highway. "Drive two hundred. and twenty four miles on. I-81 North. Then continue. on I-81 North." We found the ends of highways and discovered new twists of road.

With the wheel in my hands, I could feel the car hum over the highway. As we got closer and closer, I could feel the urgency of the cars around me rise. Rushing rushing always having to be somewhere else. Anywhere else but right here--as if they couldn't stand sitting still even as they hurtled over the pavement at eighty miles per hour. Then suddenly we swooped up and around a bend in the eight lane highway and saw skyscrapers, blue in the polluted evening. 

I gripped the wheel tighter.

"Guys...is that it? Is that it?" No. No it wasn't. It was New Jersey. But there was no going back to calm. Every nerve went taught. My neck stiffened with lactic acid then there they were. The always theoretical skyline suddenly real and touch-able out the window.

I threaded the car into the depths of the city through wormhole tunnels and behind trash trucks nearly scraping the road barriers. Seven hours in the car and three hours driving. Strung up on excitement and a kind of fear and the deeply maternal need to protect the women in my car.

They'd never seen me like that: aggressive. Angry. Complete control over the car flowed from my legs and pelvis, not my fingers as it usually does. My whole mind consumed by picking out the road lines and scattered pedestrians in the glaring lights.  The same feeling as when I hear a little one shout out in the first shock of a bloodied knee. Everything in me must respond.

And then the car settled to the curb in front of the apartment that wasn't yet ours and my hands didn't stop shaking for hours.

That sip of scotch shot to the top of my head, soaked up by the frayed ends of my mind. Then bed sucked me down until I couldn't stop falling anymore.

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