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Mile Marker 254


I passed mile marker 254 about a day ago.

I remember telling myself that I’d stop driving one day. I couldn’t do this job forever. Hauling freight was tiring. From railyard to railyard. Over and over again. I’m tired. I’m tired of driving. I should quit this job. I should’ve quit this job a long time ago. But I didn’t. And so here I am.

I passed mile marker 254 about twelve hours ago.

I even told my wife that I’d quit driving. She said it wasn’t good for the kids. Seeing me only once every two weeks as a best case scenario. Often it was for a month at a time. I mean, I was good at my job. We always had money. I liked making it like that. My family never had to struggle. Growing up, I had nothing. I was just a poor kid of a drunk. My dad drank until all the car titles were loaned out and he’d stop drinking just long enough to buy em back. He’d start all over again. It was just the way it was. I didn’t want that for my kids. My dad died of cirrhosis of the liver about ten years back. I missed his funereal. I was on the road between Las Vegas and Barstow. I said they could bury him without me. I should’ve quit then, really. I’m probably just a ghost to my kids as my father was to me.

I passed mile marker 254 about half hour ago.

I did tell my kids that one day I’d quit driving. I promised them. I swore. But in the same way a man takes solace in his off time at the bar, I took my solace in the road. The road had a hypnotic effect on me. I let my mind spread out over its asphalt. In a way, it was my therapy. I laid to rest my resentments from my father and the way he’d wasted away. I found my peace over the death of my mother five years back. So I guess like all therapeutic drugs there was the potential to start abusing it. I came home less and less and I honestly couldn’t say why. I just couldn’t sit still. The feeling of not moving forward was a lot like drowning. I’d wake up gasping. I should’ve quit then. The signs were too obvious. Not highway signs white and green. But red on black. Bold. Bleeding. It wasn’t any good for me. The money kept coming, though, and my kids had everything they needed. Well, except, you know.

I passed mile marker 254 about ten minutes ago. Five minutes ago I passed it too. A minute ago.

I want to quit driving. I really really do. The road appears beneath my headlights like a treadmill. The dry sands on both sides of the road are a pale, ghostly white. I crawl forward in this old Pete and the fuel gauge has been stuck on empty for a week and I keep on going anyways. It’s always night. A minute ago I passed mile marker 254. And in the darkness, crawling ever closer, are the numbers yet again. It’s all the same. Over and over. At first it seemed like a dream. Then it was a nightmare. And now I feel like it’s a little bit like hell.

I should’ve quit driving when I had the chance.


Credits to: Out-ofmind

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