#1 - 700 Miles
Language Arts 8
This is… the story of a crazy dream, half reality, half not, of.. the time I ran from it all. Away from home, on a journey of 700 miles… to Connecticut… to see a… friend. Of what I took, my means of transportation… and what kept me going the entire time. It’s personal, and may explain a lot of things. But… let’s get started.
“You can’t be serious. We’ve had this planned for 3 years, Sierra, and you want to spoil everything by advancing a year?” I was in disbelief. We had had everything planned, for me to move to Connecticuit for years now, and after everything, now, suddenly, she needed me there. It was only going to be six months until I graduated – when we had originally planned the move.
“Mmhmm. I want you here now… I know it’s only another couple of months, but… I want you here..” she stammered out hastily, since she couldn’t talk for long. Her parents would have rejected the idea of her having a boyfriend in another state, 700 miles away. Which, was exactly what I was—a break in the rules. Of course, nobody knew. We were careful with everything- texts, calls, messages.
“You know I want to be there, Sierra. You know I have to wait, to graduate. I’ve tried graduating early, but I couldn’t. I want to be there, trust me, but I can’t…” I sighed, reciting the ageless argument we’d been through many times. Of course I wanted to be there, with her. It would have to wait—something that was killing the both of us.
“Fine. I know I have to wait, it’s just killing me…” she continued. “I don’t want to wait, we’ve been waiting like this for three years now!” she picked up courage, and I knew I had to stop her before people got suspicious. Once she got on a roll, she was on a roll.
“Hey. It’ll be okay, it’s not too much longer… the wait is killing me as much as it’s killing you.” I got out, which seemed to stop her. She sighed, and a note of worry entered her voice.
“I have to go, I’ll see you later. Bye,” she sighed, a little frustrated. I knew what that meant; she wasn’t happy. I hung up, not knowing that would be the last phone call I would ever have, for the time being. By the time I walked in the door, it was nearly 5; a big change. I was home early for once, to study for the midterm exams. And… that’s when it all dropped.
“You. Out. I’ve had enough of your callous disrespect, I want you out of my house. Enough of this crap, not listening. I-“ I cut her off, fueled by anger and misery of dealing with this for eight years.
“Fine. I know you’ve wanted me gone for six years, Tanja. I know that I’ve just been wasting space. Well, here’s something: maybe you should have acted less like a dictator and more like a stepmother!” I bolted down the hall, and slammed the door, clicking the lock. I knew I wouldn’t be safe for long; I had to run. I knew exactly where to, even though I didn’t like the idea. This was it; I had to run to Connecticuit.
I picked up the phone to dial the all too familiar number, when a cold, mechanical voice rang into my ear. The words I had hoped I wouldn’t hear. My phone… had been shut off. I was left with nothing, but pictures, and music. No way to let Sierra know what was going on; just memories, in a small device. I screamed in frustration, and kicked the wall. I knew I had to pack light; my keys were out in the living room, no doubt confiscated. I was literally on the run; with an old bag that fit light. I quickly grabbed a few other… sentimental objects, and began to prepare… for an entire new life.
Among the few thing I grabbed was a chunk of pure silver; something I had dug up with my dad before he died in a work accident. It wasn’t too special. I knew it was valuable; many collectors had tried to give me as much as $3000 for it. I denied, knowing the story behind it was worth millions of dollars in my mind. We had been in the mountains in West Virginia, years ago. We never expected to find anything; we had just went for a hike. Of course, joking around, we dug. And dug, and dug. My shovel had hit something… metal. A few more shoves had revealed a treasure to behold; a round, luminescent chunk of silver, about the size of my palm. We had had it in a small, glass case in my room for the years that followed, up until now. I looked to it, looked to the sky, and told him thanks for the guidance. If only he knew…
Another thing I grabbed was my wallet, but not for obvious reasons. Sure, I had money in there, which proved useful, but what it meant. It had been poorly colored by my 5 year old self, in silver Sharpie. Why I had grabbed it… I had pictures of everybody who mattered to me. My sisters, my mom, and dad… and cousins. And, of course, in the very center, a picture of Sierra and I from long ago, before she moved. This wallet was more than a way to eat and sleep; it was just as important as the pictures in the phone, or the memories in the silver. Every picture had a story; something engraved in my mind about that moment. Like all of my cousins and I gathered around a campfire, or my dad and I at a Spartans game; little things that would last forever in vivid detail in my mind.
I looked at the clock; nearly 3 A.M. I was so busy reminiscing that I had fallen asleep; leading me to a prime time to run. I looked back at my room, and took a picture. So long, life, I thought to myself. I opened the window, took a final glance, and kicked out the screen. I dropped, and immediately started running. 700 miles was no easy feat; I knew this would take days, if not weeks. I looked to the east, and set a mental course; memorizing a general path was one thing Sierra and I had gone over. I set out down Beard road… and took off into the woods. I set up camp for the night, nothing special, and relaxed. My mind was racing; this was one of the most daring things I had done. 3 miles down, 697 to go, I thought to myself, and I was out cold.
The next morning, I awoke to a… odd sight. I had miraculously made it through the night without even being cold, or ravaged by wolves or something. I chalked it up to dumb luck, and packed. At this point, I knew there was no going back… that my choice had been made. I set off, despairingly, into the unknown wilderness, sticking to heavily wooded areas for cover. No doubt they would have sent someone to look along main roads. I put on some music, and started walking. I lost track of time, just a man and his thoughts, walking along the woods. I knew not how many miles I covered, just that I had to keep moving. I knew a general mileage, roughly 26 a day, but… I could never be sure. At this pace, It would be weeks before I got there. As an added trial, I couldn’t trust walking into town until I was out of a 50 mile radius—which meant not eating for several days, at least. Cursing to myself, I vanquished the thought, and kept on. Thinking of food would only make it worse, and I couldn’t afford to be hungry in the middle of a forest.
I had been walking for roughly seven hours when I heard it- the rustling of leaves that could only mean two things: a person, or an animal. I stopped walking, and crouched. If it was indeed a human, I couldn’t let myself be seen. I silently, slowly, crept up and faced the invader: a small, cuddly bunny. I laughed at myself, my paranoia, and the bunny went thumping through the forest. Noticing the time, the amount of ambient light left in the air, I settled down for the night, a good… 30, maybe 40 miles from the origin of my journey. I was proud, and not the least bit homesick.
I drifted off into the dance of the subconscious—a dream. I don’t remember much, except it involved a Legend of Zelda style vision, and I knew that it couldn’t be real… the type of dream that you have control over. Not that I had much time… what seemed like an instant of time within my subconscious was nearly 13 hours of rest—more than I had gotten in a long time. I got up, startled to see that so much time had passed. My subconscious was a luring and dangerous place; something I should know to keep at bay, not let it affect me when I was traveling.
Weeks passed. It gradually got colder, until snow fell. I had reached the far side of New York—making friends along the way. Knowing it was only another 200 miles, I pushed on through the scenic, frozen wasteland that the forests had become. Of course, I couldn’t take all the credit. A childhood friend had lent me his apartment in downtown Albany for a couple of days… which, yes, held back my progress, but gave me time to relax from the journey. I had lost a good 25 pounds, and sat at a healthy 140. It wasn’t until I had gotten into Vermont that I realized I had gone the wrong direction; I should have been entering Connecticuit. I took out the silver, and looked to the skies. I murmured a thank you, for guiding me. I felt something… vibrate. Like some outside force had warmed me, then I realized; it was the phone! It was turned on… and I finally had a way to connect with the outside world.
Of course, I called Sierra first. I told her everything, including the fact that I was less than 2 weeks from finally reuniting with her. She, naturally, was ecstatic… and told me that she would start looking at apartments. We had money saved—nearly $7000 over the years saved. Naturally, I agreed, and then told her I had to go, and I’d call her when I got to Bristol. I had made a good 7/8ths of this journey without connections to outside people, and I was going to finish that way. I wasn’t going to succumb to desire, and have outside help—not only was this exercise, but the catharsis it delivered, by having weeks of silence. I felt better that I had in years… knowing that I finally had won, had gotten what I desired, a chance at a new life with Sierra.
Another week passed. I had grown weary, both physically and mentally. I finally stumbled into Bristol, where a beyond happy Sierra was waiting to take me to our new home—the home we would inhabit for years. Things changed. Summer blew into Fall, then Winter, and cycled. For once, a tale had a happy ending. The winds of change had gusted toward happiness, blowing me right along with it.