The big empty. It’s where I was born, where I’d always lived, where I was trapped. A world where you got through high school, and went to work on a farm. Maybe you got a job at the nearby chicken or pig warehouses. Maybe you got nothing but a summer job at the nature adventure tourist trap 50 miles from home, and spent summers in a tent city, working for virtually nothing, and spending half of it on food from the only place you could get it. The place where you worked.
At 18, you got engaged, at 19 you became a parent, and at 21, you got your first divorce. Because. That’s how it went in the big empty.
That’s why I packed my few belongings in a backpack, and walked out of the house one day. “You can’t cheat death, but you can change everything else.” I wasn’t going to die in the big empty. I wasn’t going to have no education, no job, no future. I was going to escape to anywhere.
Anywhere was better than the big empty.
I’d never tried hitchhiking before. I’d never been on a road trip either. Yet there I was. Trying to catch any ride I could, away from everything I’d ever known. Yeah. I was terrified. But I knew it was better to be terrified than to become as empty as the big empty itself. So, I kept walking. And working. For that first ride. That first step.
It’s week 2×49 of Cara Michaels‘s #MenageMonday flash fiction challenge. You can read about #MenageMonday here. Please, go read all the short tales from this week. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.