Badlands South Dakota, May 2011.
My twin brother was getting married in France. I had to get to France. I was in San Francisco. Plane tickets to Toulouse in May and June ranged in price between 800 and 1200 dollars, I wasn’t going to pay that. I got it into my head that there are people who need cars driven across the U.S., not to France, but at least closer than San Francisco. Nina and I found one. Anna was moving from Portland to Philadelphia, had already left and was now looking for someone to drive her Honda the 2,900 miles to her new home. We would met in Portland, Nina from Australia was traveling around the U.S., we met at the Green Tortoise Hostel in San Francisco, where I worked and lived. She was, is full of life, pastes up her “babies”, fictional monsters in cities, wears Doc Martins with flower dresses from the ’90’s and listens to the velvet underground. Anna wouldn’t be there, but the key to her house would be under the mat at the front door, in the kitchen drawer, by the hall way, the top one, would be $500 and the keys to the Honda in the drive way.
For the first time, our relationship would find a new, slower tempo, where as before our attention was forced to be given to some portion of the 150 backpackers that came and went daily, now we only had each other, which we had fought for in the space before. We had 12 days to cross “America”. Listening to one of the 15 christian radio stations that you find east of Oregon, telling jokes and stories or just watching the landscape speed by. We stopped in at my old boss’s tree farm in Silverton, Bambi, who’s real name is John Wayne Strauss, went to a wedding reception in the pine forests of the northwest, smoked grass, and talked about cherries. We met up with my childhood friend, Forest, who’s band was on tour, playing gyspsy punk rock in a basment in Minnesota. Saw my cousin, in Indiana, went fly fishing in pounds full of bass and turtles. The same as I had after my mom died at 12, sent out there for protection. I talked to his mom, about my mom. We made it to Philadelphia, the day before my flight from New York to Dublin. We met Anna, for the first time, and her son, we had carried a potion of his toys across the country. They are sweet and kind people, like all of us, when we trust, as she did.