Try to imagine your surprise when your night begins while you are attempting a U-turn off of Union Street once you realize you’ve managed to miss Lumbar Road. Something is going awry. Who can you turn to? Who can explain the reason(s) you are somehow stuck in some sort of gravel pit embankment instead of that parking space in the lot across from the warehouse building? Who?
You try to jerk the car forward and again in reverse… you try it again and again. but the only motion is the scent of burning rubber as it winds its way through your nasal passages. Your friend Steve’s art opening is in that warehouse, less than one block away. You’re so close, you can almost touch it, but you’re not there yet. If you leave the car in the gravel pit, maybe someone will tow it. Or maybe someone will set it on fire. And maybe this is what is meant to happen.
But for propriety’s sake, you’d prefer not to let that happen. Let’s say you take the chance of leaving the car, and let’s say that something really really bad actually does happen to it… and then suppose by the time time you arrive for the opening, you’re already missed it and everyone is gone… The building is as vacant as your wallet. So… how will you find your way home? All the way from Chinatown to Edgewater? What will you do then? And then… that which was meant to happen actually turns out to be what happens.
So instead of this huge surprise you had planned for Steve, maybe even simply by showing up, there you are, pacing around a gravel pit, far, far below the highway overpass next to the cement factory. But somehow, maybe, there’s this distinct possibility this might turn out to be the home you have long been seeking. Instead of wasting time, ruminating about tow trucks and AAA expiration dates, you realize this might be a good time to write a really nice thank you note to Steve for inviting you here… this precise point upon the earth. You might consider saying:
I am so very sorry I could not make it to your opening. I know you were not really expecting me, but still, I could feel your absence of me, and it lingers with me still.
You must have seen this coming. I know that if I had the sense to read between the lines of so many many things you have spoken to me, oh, these many years… if I had recorded your words and played the tape backwards, I would hear you narrating a story about my quest to find you and how that would lead to a U-Turn into a gravel pit embankment, perhaps the only patch of desert remaining on this land since our ancestors first settled here after years of roaming through the wilderness.
Steve, how could I not have foreseen you were leading me to this land from which I will build my home, my temple, my garden, my refuge, my cradle, my vineyard? Who knows where I might have wandered had you not led me here, to this precise position, where I now lay, gazing up towards the 36,000,000,000 stars that glow upon the overpass that is now my roof?
If, perchance, we shall meet again, we may look back upon this night and rejoice, with some residue of sadness, but nary a trace of regret.
By the time you read this letter, you have long since departed from Chinatown. You have, no doubt, just returned home. Your dogs leap ecstatically as you unbolt the door. O, how I wish I could leap among them! But Fate has sent me elsewhere… and beneath the rumblings of the highway, I hear the dogs of my desert beckoning me home.
My heart is untethered. My soul is unbound.