Such is the life of a road warrior, she thought to herself. Two hours of podunk middle of nowhere with only Boston and The Clash to keep her company. No radio station would stay with her long enough to make it through one song. She finally gave up and made it her mission to figure out exactly what the lyrics were saying in “Train in Vain.” She was frustrated. This route was new to her, but she’d made the trip a couple of times already and she knew what to expect. There was no one to blame but herself, she thought, as she pictured her CD case laying on her nightstand at home. Next to her bed.
She shook off the thought and drove onward. She turned the volume up and was determined to hear that line. “You said you love me and that’s a fact. Then you left me, so you took that track.” No… “…sewed a felt rack.” Caciphonous laughter, but no. “Said you’d tell Jack.” Um, no. Give it a rest and move on.
“said you felt trapped”
“All the times
When we were close
I'll remember these things the most
I see your body come tumbling down…”
And so it went for the next hour. Finally, like a neon oasis in the desert of pine trees, she spotted her destination. Exit 145. As she rolled to the top of the ramp, she rolled her head around, loosening the muscles in her neck and shoulders. So many decisions: left to Stuckey’s and a Truck Stop. Right to the hotel, a BBQ shack and a Mexican Restaurant. Her client was a good two hours off the interstate and she’d decided after the last fiasco of trying to get there in the dark, only to find out there was nowhere to stay, this place would do.
I see all my dreams come tumbling down.
She pulled up to the door of the lobby and went inside. Behind the desk was a young kid. Too young to be manning the desk on the evening shift. He was tall and thin and his hands seemed too large for his body.
She drove around to her room, 145, and parked in front of the door. As a child, she’d played the state tag game on family car trips and still couldn’t help but notice a “foreign” tag. The silver Volvo with Vermont plates was parked two spaces over in front of room 147. A weathered bumper sticker reminded her that “Everything is Subject to Change.”