Journal 2
Day 18 Vicksburg Junction to Salome
today: 22 cumulative: 349

Today I see no glory in this endeavor, no hero's journey, no flow, no treasure chests, only pain. I this the apparent self-annihilation, the initiation, one of many thresholds I must cross? I am still in the landscape of the exterior, and it is taking its toll. My achilles still cripple me every day, and every night I limp into my destination. What if this problem doesn't go away? It will hurt even more if I give up. I try no to think about it, but there are many who would like to see me fail. I have to get beyond that, a waste of energy to think about those people, to let them have any time in my mind. In these painful days there is always fear before I walk out the door, today is no expectation, today I am making the pain greater than it is, today I am not sure if I can go on.

The wind is blowing hard, and unless I want to add another day to this desert I will have to take the Interstate again. Sitting at a booth by the window I watch the semis going by. I don't want them to talk to me today, I don't want to hear their insults. I want to wear my cowboy hat but on the Interstate it always blows off. This is a test. Sing when you are out of water. Dance when you want to cry. Walk through to the other side of pain. Today I need to talk to someone. I call a mentor, my brother, my dad. I had to know that ther e would be a day like this, or many days like this. I chose this journey, I knew my body want ready, I wanted to be unprepared romanic fool defying all the laws of physics and muscles and bones in my feet. I wanted the suffering, or at least I wnted to talk about it from a bar stool. This is different, this limping in and out of towns, this s lonely road.

Again I think of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame, my bar in Santa Fe, the bar subtitled "Heaven," if only it had a bigger dance floor. Alissa sings there on Sundays sometimes, and Sharron plays the mandolin on Fridays and Tuesdays, and the waitresses have pink hair, and tattoos, and so does the bartender, and for awhile I was there 5 days a week because so was everyone else, because sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and today I am 5 months away from where everybody knows my name, and I am lonely. I want to be on the other side of this pain.

Walk through that door, a threshold that must be crossed, and on the other side I feel better. I have been feeding my pain, I have been giving it too much of myself. Today I will take it back. The limp begins to fade and soon I am striding. New shoes today, a new place in my mind, I wont let it hurt me anymore. And I am walking quickly and without pain. 4 mile down the highway I am turned around by the highway patrol, he shakes his head, signs everywhere, NO PEDESTRIANS. He has done me a favor, back on the road to Salome the traffic is almost no existent. I will walk an extra day now, but there will be no insults from the traffic, and I can wear my cowboy hat. Today is easy, today I have taken this walk back. This is where I want to be. I cant believe where my head was this morning.

Freed from the pain I go to another place in my mind where I keep all the things I love. Where I keep Alissa. I relive our whole life together, and it was a whole life the way we lived those 18 days. The first time I kissed her, today that is going through my mind on a loop. She thought there was something wrong with her chest, I watched her, I knew because she kept touching it and the look on her face. Finally she said there was something wrong, her heart was beating too fast, her chest hurt, and I just smiled and walked over to her and kissed her under the stars and her heart stopped. And she asked me how I knew, she said she didn't even know, and I kissed her again and from then on we were never apart. And on the shoulder of the road I am crying with a smile on my face because I am so lucky to have found her and I am so far away and I am human so I grasp and I want to be assured, but there are no assurances. Crying and singing songs about her, if I say it the right way, if I say it enough times, if I say it like nobody ever has, if I say it as a rhyme or in the context of a story tell me do you think she'll under stand that I love her?

And the first kiss goes through my mind again, heart stops, space travel, sleeping by her side, heart stops, space travel, sleeping by her side. I walk to the next junction in step with this loop. She does not know that she carries me. The loop stops at the next junction. Its not healthy to stay on a loop too long, long loops are also called mental illness. The Kofa Café saves me from mental illness. The Kofa Cafés cherry pie and ice cream save me from mental illness. Is it still a great adventure if I can eat cherry pie and ice cream in every town? A map that shows where the customers live, clusters of red pins, someone from my home town has been here. A woman named Sheryl collects sons. She wants to add me to her collection. She is adopting me. Wayward wanderer drifting gypsy boy, good thing I shaved today or I might not have made the cut. The shave takes years off my age. She runs ice cream to California with her husband, she knows a lot about refrigeration units, and has a stockpile of beef jerky which she shares with me. I love these other mothers, I have several all over the world. Mom hugs me and kisses me on the cheek, safe journey son. Thank you Mom. This is what keeps me going, more than cherry pie. I walk to find more mothers, I walk to find my family in every man.

Sun setting old sign for the Kofa and abandoned buildings that used to pump gas 60 years ago, stucco framed in falling beams and all those abandoned cars, what looks like refuse in the day looks like romantic ruins in the orange of the last light. Long hill to Salome, the Palm trees are lit by green fluorescent lights, old hotels that are no longer hotels, and the lights of Salome, hoping that another place with people will be open. I need these fellow souls, and they are here in the Bar, the only place in town, and yes, what I had hoped to find, a bar like small town Wyoming, the same people with different faces.

Bill is eating a sack of raw potatoes with the peels on, he insists that I take 3 of them to cook in my camp fire. His real name is Larry, he is testing me, once he has decided that he likes me I can know his real name. And then he tells me more than his real name, he tells me about the most important event in his life. If you listen long enough people will tell you everything, Larry's story is about an angel that visited him, a 20 year old with red hair in huge spikes wearing studded leather, punk rock, tattoo, not from around here look, happen to know that you plan to kill a man tonight. Larry is not the type who knows punk rockers with red spiked hair. He is very serious in the telling of his story, he really wants me to believe it. He finds many witnesses for me, all are sworn in and corroborate his story. “Yep, red spikes, ain’t never seen nothing like it.”

“So my chopper got stolen by this guy and I knew who it was, an dI was going to kill him. Traded my dad a hunting rifle for a .41 magnum, up in a cabin where there ain’t no one around. This guy says he knows I'm gonna kill a man tonight and says he knows about me tradin’ for that .41, and aint nobody can know that, and a .41 ain’t no regular gun. And to prove it he tells me about my life things he cant know. Say remember Tippy, and I cant remember at first so he tells me that that I found Tippy wrapped up in a bloody newspaper on my step when I was a boy, and he’s right, my dog Tippy got run over and got left on my steps rolled up in a newspaper, Tippy was pregnant, and I cant believe this guy but I have to and it scares the crap out of me he knows this stuff, and it all happened before he was born by the looks of him.” Larry stares at me as if to say , “Please believe me!” He says again, “He knew about Tippy,” shaking his head, “Tippy.” “And he talks me down and we spend some time together drinking and the next day I see him in the paper, saved a woman from being raped, but says he got hit by a car hitch hiking out of town and died. I don’t think he did die.” He calls more witnesses, his wife Joanne, who waited on me at the Kofa. “Yep, red spikes, ain’t never seen nothin’ like it.” Joanne’s story is that hard ice cream is harder than you think and you never get tips for it even though its so hard to scoop that you get cramps in your hand, and people should tip for hard ice-cream. Larry is still eating the raw potatoes that his friend brought for him from Idaho. The bar tender owns land with old WWII runways and that is where I sleep in a tent with my dog....