Ready To Leave, Ready To Live
A wide open road sounds both exciting and terrifying. I’m braving it today and heading back to my home state, Tennessee, for my cousin’s wedding. Lily, who I love like a sister, and her fiancé, Dave, are getting married this week and I wouldn’t miss it for the world!
It’s a long way from California but at least I’m not alone. I’m driving with Dave’s brother, a boy I’ve never met. It’s far from an ideal setup and yet I still can’t help feeling pumped to go on this excursion. Driving through several states and seeing America is bound to make for an epic road trip.
Before I take off, I want to share my must-haves:
Megan’s Road Trip Essentials
1. Good music - Fact: great tunes equals great road trip. I’m not a windows down, blown away hair, loud music kind of girl but there’s something about driving down the freeway that begs for a soundtrack, preferably Springsteen.
2. Smartphone - To check in with my family and best friend, who are occasionally worried about me being kidnapped or being awkward. Also, for taking photos, reading, note-taking and blogging on the go.
3. Sunglasses - It’s not summer until the sun is making you squint as if saying, “You can’t handle my shine.” Plus, my favorite vintage browline ones match the retro clothes I’d picked for the trip.
4. Snacks - Cookies, M&Ms and Nerds are necessary for survival. Must stop by a gas station later to refill stock.
5. Water bottle - For staying hydrated (Note to self: go easy on the water- gas stations may be few and far in between and I’d rather spare myself of ever having to relieve my bladder behind a bush or tree or god forbid, a bottle.)
6. Instant camera - A gift from Lily when I turned nineteen. I like technology fine but I find Polaroid prints cool, no matter how old school. I want to take lots of them during this adventure. I want to “capture precious memories”, like my cousin had told me when she gave me the camera.
Write soon! Watch out for my road trip posts!
Can a person be two different things at the same time? No, I’m not talking about having a split personality. Dissociative personality disorder, my psychologist Mom would correct me. Whatever. That’s not the point.
Sometimes, I feel like I have two personas: my usual self and my blogger self. As I typed the post about my impending road trip, I am in blogger mode. I talk on the page, to my readers, as if they were close friends. Truth be told, even though people say internet friends are not real friends, I can’t help thinking otherwise.
It may be because I have so few in actual existence that I fool myself into believing that. That’s me in reality- a girl with a diminutive social life. A recluse, my English major roommate would say.
“Are you all set?” I strain my eyes away from my laptop to look at Brooke Hamilton. My college roomie. She’s also given herself the best friend title and in the past semester we’ve spent rooming together, she’s earned it. In fact, I’m happy I can call her my best friend too.
With my status as someone who was anything but a people person, I’m surprised I managed to find one in college who I easily clicked with. Then again, I’m surprised to find someone who loves cookies as much as I do. I’m a cookie monster. Brooke loves to bake them and I love to eat them. It’s pretty much my daily diet.
I revert my attention to the screen in front of me. Some stray blonde hair hang over my face, remnants of the bangs I got when I started college at Stanford, and I tuck them aside. I scan what I wrote for any blunders, find none, hit publish and view the final post. Funny how I sound confident when I’m anything but.
“Yup,” I answer but my voice falters as I close my laptop and lean back in my desk chair. Now that I’ve posted about the trip on my website, the fact that I’ll be leaving town and setting off with a mysterious stranger today is really sinking in. When was the last time I even spoke to someone I was unfamiliar with that wasn’t forced by college group projects or Brooke trying to get me to meet new people?
I roll my neck and shoulders to try and relax. Unfortunately, I can’t do anything about the knots forming in my stomach.
Maybe I should tell Lily I’ll take a Greyhound bus instead. I can’t help but shudder remembering the disgusting details Brooke shared from when rode it to get here from Boston. Not only did she have to be terrorized by a large cockroach under her seat, she also had to witness an overeager couple going at it and moaning like there was no one else on the bus.
That was enough to make me accept Dave’s offer to ride with his brother. Crazy that I would ever reconsider riding a Greyhound after learning about Brooke’s experience but at least I could have solitude, provided I put on my earphones to drown out any unwanted noises. I wouldn’t have to be subjected to several days driving with some guy in awkward silence. What if he wanted to make small talk? I flinch inwardly.
Brooke sits on my bed, facing me. “You’re not having any second thoughts about this, are you?”
“It’s uncanny how you know exactly what’s on my mind.” I tell her with a bemused smile.
“Look,” She says. I meet her worried eyes and I can tell she can see my agitation. “I was surprised when you agreed to this but I think it’ll be good for you. You need to have fun. Have an adventure.” I understand she means. Spring semester of my freshman year was rough. Another reason I agreed to the trip- I wanted to get away.
“If it makes you feel better, I made you cookies for the trip. I put them in your bag.”
“White chocolate macadamia?”
“And cashew caramel.”
I think about how lucky I got that Brooke and I were assigned to be roommates this year. I had a good feeling we’d become fast friends when we were still coordinating about our room through email and she said she was bringing in an Easy-Bake oven. It’s ridiculous, but she bakes good stuff with that thing. Now, I wouldn’t know what to do without her and her cookies. It’s crazy how we’ve only known each other for months but I already adore her as much as Lily, who I grew up with.
“You’re the best- you know that right?”
“I could hear it more often.” We grin at each other. Just like that my worries about being on the road fade away. Almost.
I check the time and it’s past ten in the morning. My ride- Zac, Lily had told me his name was- is late. I sigh, disappointed Dave’s brother was not a prompt person. Still, part of me is relieved because at least I won’t have to deal with meeting him yet.
“He’ll be here soon.” Brooke tells me. And that’s what I’m scared of. I know she’s only trying to be reassuring but I’m only more nervous. I brace myself.