26 hours on this shithole. screaming grandkids with sticky chocolate fingers. old people whose lax cheek muscles sag at everything. they carry this distinct smell of oatmeal and firming lotion. too little, too late.
trains are no better than planes. recirculated air, shitty legroom; four more hours til the next rest stop. make it count. fuck, you needed this smoke. nicotine cures all ailments: the sound of ripped cellophane, the cushion of the filter between your fingers; you breathe in deeply and close your eyes as you exhale. everything slows down; everything comes into focus. in the back of your eyes, the senior citizens mistakenly feed the children their dietary food packs and die violently of sugar overdoses from the kids’ snacks. you smile a little, your face turned upwards towards an unpredictable gathering of stratus clouds. almost makes you forget the crappy land and dirty trailer park surroundings. as soon as you leave chicago, that’s all you see.
shanties dot the land in the window. they race past your eyes, sheet metal stains that move like big black flies on the glass. abandoned train yards with scattered gravel and locomotive gears age brown and orange. lifeless graveyards tell stories of a once prosperous town buckled by railroads that no longer help deliver eager visitors. you imagine sad faces peering from the one room houses, envious of your speed, the same speed for which you are thankful.
the children in the seats in front of you finger and question every button, every shiny switch. they whine. my overhead light’s not as bright as bobby’s, sarah’s seat reclines so much farther back than mine. lunchables replace their endless jabber with slurping and crunching. crumbs falls in small laps, abruptly brushed to the carpeted floor by large feminine hands.
you’re going to Colorado to unload your head. your friends get worried when they hear you have problems sleeping. they promised you mountains, unfamiliar faces and the best beer in the country. those last two sounded especially good so you ran. you can’t work every holiday. you’re tired and the prospect of Boulder was cheap and attractive, a hooker on the corner of the Yellow Brick Road.