Monday, November 8, 2004

Walking Away - Chapter 5: Under the Stars

Jack was nearing Jefferson City and his mind and body were shot. The adrenaline surge from the afternoon had passed and seemed to take any remaining energy that he had. His eyes felt like led weights and he knew he was going to have to stop. He pulled off onto a side road that headed up out of the river bottom into the nearby bluffs. Two miles up the road; he came to a pull off for a scenic overlook and pulled into the parking area. He cut the engine and got out of the car, hearing only the engine clicks and pops as it cooled down. Jack pulled the trunk latch and got out of the car stretching his cramped up legs. Since stopping at his parent’s mailbox to deliver his note, he had only stopped once for gas.

He had driven out of the rain just south of Moberly, Missouri and the overcast skies had cleared for now. It still felt like more rain was possible but he thought it would hold off until morning and he was willing to chance it so that he didn’t have to sleep in the car. For now, the stars were out in full force and with a half full moon; there was plenty of light to see by as he walked around to the trunk. He made a sandwich, feeling the lunchmeat carefully and picking out a few pieces of shot. He also grabbed a soda, small tarp and sleeping bag before stepping over the safety railing and picking his was down the steep slope a short distance until he came to a small level shelf. He laid down the tarp, unrolled the sleeping bag and sat down to eat a picnic supper.

From his vantage point, he had a clear view of the lights of Jefferson City off in the distance and he had to admit there was a certain kind of beauty to it. But once inside that zone of lights, the beauty always faded away and you were left with fields of concrete and foul smelling air. He needed to get away from that for a while.

Jack had been an engineer for seven years and it was enough to know he wanted something better in life. He was a good engineer and certainly enjoyed the process but he disliked dealing with the same bureaucratic crap day after day. The whole process seemed to be blind and he wanted a job where he could see for a change.

Being laid off from his job was a sign from God to re-evaluate his life and career. He had a good chunk of money saved up that should last him a few years where he was going. He was going to find himself someplace removed from society and for the first month or so, contemplate nothing. He was just going to detoxify his system of all of society’s pollution, no news, no phone, no communication, no nothing. He was quitting cold turkey. After that, he would re-evaluate his life and career until he came to some solid conclusion and then he would re-enter society to live out the remainder of his days in peace.

He finished eating his make shift supper and crawled into his sleeping bag. It was cool but he could sense that it was slowly getting warmer. A warm front was moving through the area so he should stay plenty warm tonight. The clean air already seemed to be detoxifying his system and he felt much more calm and relaxed. He closed his eyes and listened to the night sounds and the passing traffic in the valley far below.

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