Entry One Hundred Nine: Adam Mahoney, You Just Won!

[This entry is the current story I am working on. This is thirty-nine of who knows how many will be posted. The last entry is here. Enjoy it while it lasts...]

Chapter Seventeen
Once in his house, Adam pulled an atlas from a bookshelf and found the two page spread that presented a map of the entire United States, all 50 of them. He found the general area of his hometown in the southern part of Georgia and placed his index finger on that spot. “North or West? That’s about the only two options, I suppose.” He traced his finger to the left, following Interstate 10 across Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and ended on the west coast of California. It was a long way from home and, even though the prospect of driving through states he had never visited before intrigued him, the unfamiliarity of it also caused him to rule it out. His situation was weird enough. To layer the unknown on top of it was too much to deal with. At least initially. “The first trip should be familiar.”

He returned his finger to south Georgia and dragged it up the page, briefly stopping on the word “Atlanta,” the state capitol. “I’ve been there before. I can possibly deal with that.” He left the book open on his desk and turned his attention to his computer. He hoped that MapQuest was still functioning because he wanted some directions to keep him on track during his trip. There was a significant amount of comfort in having a plan and comfort had been in such short supply since the note that he grabbed it whenever it presented itself.

To Adam’s delight, and relief, MapQuest functioned perfectly. After submitting his address and his destination, the step-by-step instructions filled his screen and he printed them. With the directions in hand, his attention turned toward supplies for his trip. He was only going to be gone for a couple of days so packing would be light. He brought a suitcase in from the garage and filled it with three outfits and an extra pair of underwear. Since he was driving north and the weather had started to cool, he added an extra sweatshirt as well.

Adam stopped preparations for a cigarette break and he decided to enjoy it sitting on the steps of the front porch. As he exhaled his first draw he thought about what it meant to leave, even if only for a day or two. He had not traveled much before, always comfortable in his small town existence, never feeling a need to get away and explore. The few forays to Atlanta to catch a Braves baseball game had given him all the taste of a big city he needed. Too much and too many, too fast. It was okay for an occasional weekend, but not fit for constant consumption, at least for him.

But this trip would be different. “Hell, what’s not different.” He wasn’t traveling to a city teeming with people, traffic and noise. He knew it would be empty but what that would look and feel like he couldn’t comprehend. Why waste time mentally churning on it; he’d experience it soon enough. He was not looking forward to the next few days but Adam knew the trip was inevitable, especially if he was interested in survival. As he stood and stretched he decided to leave the next morning.

All words and images ©2009/J. Colle

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