The last time I checked there was no one behind me and I haven’t seen a single car pass by. I’ve been hauling down this old dark road in the middle of the night in an old 60’s cadillac for as long as my mind allows me to remember. I’m comfortable like a captain on his ship, steering with one hand and a light touch, my eyes half closed. Like the hypnotic waves of the sea I watch the center lines run up and slip by in trance. The landscape around me is nothing more than silhouettes racing by as they underline a navy-blue dusk sky. Above me are a blanket of countless stars that are unmoving in the sky even as everything around me seems to go by at a mindless and blurry pace. I forget where I’m even going not to mention where I came from. But I savor this moment when nothing is known and nothing matters. A moment in which I just am. It’s me and the road and I’m driving this motherfucker. On this empty road to nowhere is where I feel at home. Like a migrant bird I travel by instinct, letting my inner compass take me where my soul needs to go. The irony of it all is that where I feel I need to be is in a transient place. No home and no roots, only forever in a changing loop of motion. From one place to the next I travel on this desert planet in a perpetual night, always chasing the dying sunlight on the horizon. It’s on this endless highway that I belong and it is on this endless highway that I will always be. Always moving and ways searching but for what I might never know.
Like a cannon I shoot out into the clouds, through the thinning atmosphere and into the cold dark void, my tiny craft glowing from the inside as the light of the earth leaves me from behind. I’m travelling at a tremendous rate and am picking up speed as I hear the propulsion rockets focus their narrowing jets to increase thrust and spit me further out into the blackness. Soon I can see nothing around me except pinpoints of stars and distant planets, Earth being an undefined spec amongst the millions. The cabin dims and as my heart monitor in my bio-suit beeps quietly I begin to notice its rate slow as my automated cabin slowly reclines me into a horizontal position, preparing me for stasis. Soon my craft will put me into hibernation along with itself as it switches from the rocket propulsion to an efficient and quiet, yet highly powerful gravity fusion drive that will launch me into a near-light speed for ten and a half years. As my mind begins to slow and my senses begin to dim I think about my home back on earth and the truly immense distance now between here and there. I sadden momentarily but again lighten at the thought of my new home that awaits me. A not too distant star is home to more than a dozen life sustaining hydro-planets that orbit around its warm red light. The star is called Epsilon Eridani and is at a distance of around 3.2 parsecs from our sun. But those ten plus years will feel like no more than a good long nights sleep to me. Stasis is necessary for near-light speed travel to keep my body from aging at a faster-than-normal rate and the obvious need for ten years of sustainability such as food and water. It is things like this that man and his technology have accomplished and it is this drive that brings me on this mission. A mission that is unimaginably long and slow but a mission with a purpose: to escape. My home planet is in a state of panic and chaos. It is on the brink of destruction and there is no turning back. Countless wars and atomic genocides have torn it apart and brought the once beautifully blue and green Earth to its unnatural knees. The oceans have been soured by the pollution and sewage drain-off and all of the forests and rainforest have been disintegrated from countless nuclear explosions. All that is left is a large, hot and barren wasteland that is almost uninhabitable now. No vegetation or clean water. Just hot and windy flatlands constantly bombarded by dust storms and highly acidic rain that happens about once every 6 months. In these thoughts I find not only fear and sadness but also drive and courage. I am one of the lucky few. One of only 50,000 out the the 2 billion left alive to get a seat on a transit pod. It wasn’t too long ago that our planet reached a breaking point holding over 12 billion people with no hope for sustainability. And then the wars began. Religion and power, as if they were any different, waged war on each other and those around them. Billions died and billions more suffered fates worse than death as over a dozen nations released their war cries, sending out their nuclear attack dogs while the upper eschelon hid in their cozy bunkers. And I, a valuable asset to my country was kept protected. For without me these transit pods would have never been a reality. No long term stasis computer algorithms, no light-speed drives and no lives saved. I am one of only a handful of engineers valuable enough to keep alive and my reward is a new life, a life farther from my sun than I can even imagine. But as I lay back and feel the blackness wash over me I try to imagine. I picture my body lying there for years, motionless and cold. Waiting for something. Waiting for my machine to wake me up…
I come home, but no one is there. I reach out, but no reaches back. No warmth. I fumble in the dark looking for something familiar, but the space is just empty and cold. I know I’m not alone, but I’m left in a deafening silence. To know you’re there and to know you’re alive does nothing for me but twist my stomach and mind. Heavy and sour are my insides as I think too much. If only closing my eyes would help me escape I would do it forever. But like a cold wet blanket upon my shoulders I cannot shake free. It seeps into my bones and aches my muscles to the core. I scream at the top of my lungs and yet I hear nothing, no reflection and no echo. Just deafening silence.
My slipstream of consciousness flows from my mind. Out into the skies and across the seas. Moving in a peculiar fashion it swirls and soars in an endless dance with no destination. Getting lost in the vast expanse of our abstract world. My mind travels near and far outwards from within. And this, this is when I can fly. To the highest heavens and through the deepest seas. Effortlessly and with no less than infinite joy. I always bring you with me. I always share this realm with you. And hand in hand. Arm in arm. We fly. A bridge of souls and hope. The power produced and the energy felt within us is that of a million stars. Those same stars we loop through and play amongst. They are calling us to them. Out into the endless expanse. To never die and to never return. Only to love and be loved. Infinitely aligned with each other and those we love. This is my journey. This is my love, hope and dreams. Simple and serene. Honest and true.
Down the hole I go. Into the warm darkness of my mind. I hum and hiccup as I careen towards what seems to be the bottom but I never hit. I cannot stop nor can I control it. I only hold tight to my disconnected yet fully functioning reality outside my mind. Soft, dark and distant, I can barely make out the blurred silhouettes and muffled sounds. I need hope. I need you close. I need your light.
Cold fingers of soulless boney hands rake down my spine as the hard, coarse edges of life dig into my heels like sharp pumice under my weight. To step forward or backwards is to revisit the pain and discomfort that being off-balanced and lost brings me. But I am merely human and to become stagnant with fear, regret and complacency is to welcome the moss and accept the the dry staleness of one dimensional comfort. To this I say nothing. I do. And I move forward.