Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Paper Towns - Hour Fifteen

A thin stand of oak trees obscures the cornfields that stretch out to the horizon. The landscape changes,
but nothing else. Big interstates like this one make the country into a single place: McDonald’s, BP,
Wendy’s. I know I should probably hate that about interstates and yearn for the halcyon days of yore,
back when you could be drenched in local color at every turn— but whatever. I like this. I like the consistency.
I like that I can drive fifteen hours from home without the world changing too much. Lacey
double-belts me down in the wayback. “You need the rest,” she says. “You’ve been through a lot.” It’s
amazing that no one has yet blamed me for not being more proactive in the battle against the cow.
As I trail off, I hear them making one another laugh—not the words exactly, but the cadence, the
rising and falling pitches of banter. I like just listening, just loafing on the grass. And I decide that if
we get there on time but don’t find her, that’s what we’ll do: we’ll drive around the Catskills and find a
place to sit around and hang out, loafing on the grass, talking, telling jokes. Maybe the sure knowledge
that she is alive makes all of that possible again—even if I never see proof of it. I can almost imagine
a happiness without her, the ability to let her go, to feel our roots are connected even if I never see that
leaf of grass again.


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