Brief Moments of Life

New Coast

Dale drove across the country in his two-wheel drive sedan. He was escaping from everything—his girlfriend, his shitty job, his hometown. He figured running away would fix everything.

-

“You’re a bitch, you know that, right?”

“Me? You’re the problem. You don’t ever want to go out. You barely leave the house. You sit around all day doing nothing!”

Dale threw the snow globe they got from his mother for Christmas across the room. It put a hole in the wall but didn’t break.

Dale pulled over at rest stop on I-80, just past Omaha. It was 11:12 P.M. He used the bathroom, purchased a granola bar from the vending machine, and got back on the road. Outside of Lincoln, there was barely a soul on the road. The flashing of the roadside reflectors put Dale into a trance.

-

“You think I’m the problem? Here’s your new problem, I’m out of here.”

Dale rushed into the bedroom and grabbed his duffle bag. He threw in a few sets of clothes, his unread copy of Infinite Jest, his toiletry bag, and his passport. He pulled his flip phone out of his pocket and snapped it in half.

“Don’t try to call.”

-

He reached Cheyenne in the morning and pulled over for a cup of coffee and a pack of cigarettes. Dale quit smoking when they met three years ago.

Dale’s plan was to drive to Sacramento. A new coast, a new start. Dale had never been there before, but he figured anywhere would be better than New Jersey.


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Collected in Brief Moments of Life