Posted by: Kathryn Hulick | August 24, 2009

Tightrope Highway

Somewhere on the east coast. August 8, 2003.

8-08-03 ! drive down - sunset and traffic lights 4

He holds my hand at the corner, fingers woven with my own.

“You know the way from here?”

I shrug, squinting across the lines of smog-breathing cars and trucks. Past the river, ponds, and steaming lakes of asphalt, past the mountains of malls and shopping plazas selling everything-you-never-knew-you-wanted-but-must-have-NOW.

“I’ll get there.”

Somewhere out there, perhaps where the sun touches the clouds with a dash of bright orange pollution-haze, is the world my companion came from.

His is a world that belongs to pedestrians. Or rather, they belong to the world.

I step out in front of flashing headlights like giant insect eyes.

“Good luck, Kara,” he calls to me. I pause just long enough for a man to shake a fist out his window while leaning on the horn.

If only he knew how lost we are.

On the other side of the street, I encounter a bank of blobby green weeds and tall grasses barely covering a five-foot drop into mud and garbage-filled ditch. Squeezed between the drop and cars now rushing past at 40 miles and hour, I hold my breath and pretend I’m on a tightrope.

A year ago, if you told me I’d be walking down Route 9 at rush hour to get to a world that might not even be real because a man with orange eyes told me to, I’d have laughed in your face.

That was before I met Jeb. Before he flipped my life upside down, shook it a few times, then stood it up again. What would you guess happens when you do something like that? Right – all the little pieces fall out. But once you clear the trashy magazines, teeth-whitening strips, and fish tanks out of your space and the alarm clocks, coffee breaks, and trips to be tortured at the gym out of your time… well, I was left with a clearer understanding of myself than I’d ever felt before.

An understanding that I was not who I thought I was.

Jeb just smiled in his crooked way and shook my hand. My training was done, I guess. Only I didn’t get a light saber or even a new name or anything at the end of all that. I just got this mile of highway and a destination that might not even be real.

Do I believe that Jeb came from a world parallel to our own? A world that I can reach by walking through the curtain of reality (he explained it as phase transfering into a beam of light or some shit like that) and reappearing with seared eyes in a community where talk shows and wars are equally unthinkable?

When I’m just waking up in the morning I do. But then what’s left of my sanity nips me in the rear and laughs in my face.

“It’s not paradise,” Jeb warned me. “We have our problems. We tell stories but we don’t have books or movies. We have magestic trees in shades of color you’ve never imagined, but no animals larger than a house cat. We rarely argue but and we don’t fall in love.”

The last was said in a whisper. They don’t fall in love. It’s not like they can’t.



  1. Awesome post. Honest and thought provoking.

    • *Hopeful

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