Looking back on it later she remembered heat, dry grass, walking, and the realization that something had to change.
Walking along the side of the road in the dry grass was mind numbing. Heat pressed down on the leather jacket and pants. Her hair was damp from sweat and the T-shirt clung wetly to her skin. The heat was almost visible and the humidity was so high you could feel the air touching you. She could feel a sunburn even through the jacket.
It felt like she had been at this for quite some time but she wasn’t certain how far she had gone or how long she had walked. Starting in Hempstead she had headed first for Houston then decided to go to Rosenberg from the edge of Houston. That was a drive she had done many times and even in a car it felt long.
A couple of short rides and fending of men that felt a ride meant they deserved sex and she had lunch in Rosenberg. Her ex girlfriend was pleasant and commented how much calmer she was when wired. watching her ex eat as they talked she never even wanted any of the food.
Now, she was walking into Houston. The roads were mostly empty of businesses in this area but more would start showing up soon. Horns honked and hate was hurled from windows at the woman in motorcycle gear walking in the summer heat. Golden grass was so dry it was noisy under her feet and snapped rather than bending. Heat shimmers rippled around her and she was thirsty all the time.
It felt like long stretches of road weren’t there because she didn’t really remember walking them. She just walked in the direction she was going and kept moving. Thoughts rolled continuously but grew increasingly random and sometimes she wondered if she had missed a point of logic somewhere. Sleep was a distant memory she had avoided longer than she could really count. Speed and constant movement kept her going. She remembered weeks of going from place to place, pool hall to pool hall, friends place to stranger’s party, hotel lobbies to university campuses, and always looking for entertainment. When one group stopped being active and got sleepy or boring there was always something else to do.
At some point a clock in front of a bank flashed the current temperature of 115 degrees and her brain suddenly wondered when was the last time she ate and why had she not noticed how hot it was. This couldn’t be healthy. Another mile or two down the road she was sure it had been days, as many as 2 weeks but there had been protein drinks in there and a diet drink here and there. That couldn’t be good. Her body was still wired but coming down. She could remember every time it had tried to come down recently and she had taken more to roll it a bit further. It hurt to come down. When she came down she had to see her life and feel her body, recognize where she was. She couldn’t avoid the depression and voices when she came down. Looking in the mirror she saw a stranger and had no idea what to do about it.
There was a whole foods in the parking lot and as she thought she decided she needed the smoothie shown on the sign. With no other options available she stopped at the payphone and called a friend to get her. She didn’t know if he would but she knew he wouldn’t try to get something from her because she needed help.
Sitting there and slowly drinking the smoothie, she waited. mind numb and crashing she just waited. When they reached his place she went to sleep. Sometime a couple days later she began to realize what happened and what she needed to do. Change came in with the heat of summer and walking that may have been hours and may have been days. Life, she realized had been waiting there all along.