The lines on the road are the teeth of a zipper,

Each tenth of a mile rolling her from my memory.

Windshield wipers slapping and whishing, keeping time with my heartbeat.

My eyes are as bleary as the steady stream of headlights heading east.

Go west, young man.

Exhaustion from the night’s heated battle drives me to seek shelter,

Or maybe just the sights and sounds of humanity.

For many miles now no one to keep me company but James Taylor,

He can be a boring co-pilot the fourth time repeated.

I remember as a child the cross country treks,

Hours spent on watch as the drivers slept, a bored and lonely sentinel,

The endless droning of semi truck engines the only company in those wee hours.

Now I am the driver, still watching, still lonely.

Yellow ochre arrows rigid in their instructions, but who needs them?

Am I not the one in control of my destiny anymore?

My legs are like sandbags as I park and stretch,

Trying to get feeling back in my feet, and maybe a little elsewhere.

Time to put on my face to the world.

The building is square and somber, and to me, a little skewed to the right,

Large glass eyes unblinking, uncaring.

Rows of benches, wooden slats and metal, worn smooth by repetition

Stationed opposite of vending machines, standing at attention

Their contents flirting with the passersby.

I think I will stand with them, just there in the corner like I’m waiting for the bus.

A large, buxom lady is standing just there at the middle machine,

Her weight shifting back and forth in frustration

as her prize hangs tantalizingly in mid air.

Unaided by gravity, she finally puts her bulk against it, and the candy releases.

Reaching into its mouth, victorious, she turns a finds my eyes grinning at her.

Her face goes pink, caught in her lust for chocolate by a total stranger.

She eyes me gently, sheepishly smiles, turns and walks quickly out the door.

Encouraged by her smile, I feed a dollar bill into the same machine.

It whirs and spits my offering back several times before accepting,

I punch D3, the same thing that she had just claimed, trusting her taste in sweets,

Now sitting, ambivalent about my chocolate choice,

A man hustles in towing a tow headed boy.

The shorter is holding himself the way the boys are supposed to when nature calls,

Terrified of the consequences of the loss of control.

Towing turns to pushing, then to running, as need becomes emergency.

The boy is now crowing alarm.

The pair rush in to the door marked with the black figure minus the dress.

Father utters muffled curses behind the steel door, and junior begins to wail.

There may have been a slap or two.

In minutes they came out, father red faced, boy whimpering,

A dark circle marking the front of his trousers.

Get used to it kid, your whole life will be a loss of control.

The plastic bottle that I just requested thuds heavily into the bottom of the bin.

Cap opened, it hisses softly at me.

I sit now on the metal and wooden bench,

carefully placing myself in the same groove as countless others.

A young couple casually stroll in.

He powerful in his youth, she nubile and pleasing.

They are arm in arm, their proximity shouting that they are now inseparable.

He nudges and she moves, her voice rising softly with her smile.

There is hunger behind his eyes, she reciprocating it.

With a deep kiss they separate into the facility doors indicating their respective genders.

Soon returning to each other’s side, they unknowingly join me in a drink,

They taking turns, giggling madly to each other, her straddling him on the bench feet from me.

They finish, throw the empty into a wide mouthed trash can, then exit into the night.

A mixture of feelings at their antics pushes through me, then out of me, as I too rise and depart.

I will find a bed soon, a single with a small TV, I guess.

Maybe I will just drive right on through the night.

Amarillo leads to Tucumcari which leads to Barstow, then Needles.

The same route as in childhood, the same outcome at the end of the road.

I shift the shifter, hit the peddle, and I’m back to the road, and James Taylor.

The lines on the road are the teeth of a zipper, my life is opening before me.