After Franz Wright

by Brian Riggins

You’ve seen the movie before. A kid barely manages to catch a bus. He’s leaving home. Or maybe he’s finally going home. Other popular destinations include “somewhere” and “anywhere but here.”

Soybeans press up against the highway. It’s impossible to measure progress unless the Greyhound approaches a pothole or a mile marker. Maybe that’s why there are mile markers out here in places where they don’t even always have lines down the middle of the road.

On day three or four, panic creeps into the more vulnerable passengers. Like that kid. He wakes up. It’s dark. But…it’s been night time for too long, hasn’t it? He blinks again. It’s dawn. The side of the road looks exactly like it did outside of…where was that? Tulsa? The landscape blends endlessly into itself. Have we been here? Did the bus turn around? Am I headed back to where I started? Will it be better this time? I hope it’s at least different.

These passengers arrive just fine. Right before they lose it and start making a scene, they find some proof that we’re in a new state now. We’re making good progress; just not great time.

Anyway, I’m sure you’ve figured out that there’s no bus, and no kid. I didn’t know how else to start this so you’d pay attention and internalize the message: you’re going in the right direction. Forward. It’s not always going to be like this. When you get to the next gas station, stretch your legs and buy a sandwich.

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