When I reach a point where I can safely move away from the sea and the dunes I slow down until i am walking and catch my breath. I dont know how safe I am or whether that little incident will ever amount to anything. But it’s too much at one time. This place isnt safe anymore. I need to get away for a while, maybe quite a while. My breathing slows to normal as i reach a stone bridge that spans a little pewter colored inlet. I hear they’re really muddy on the bottom so it’s not a place to scuba dive. I see gulls for the first time in months. I was beginning to think they’d gone extinct too.
A sour wind stirs in the palm fronds and scrub pines and I recognize the smell of garbage. Someone dumped a full garbage bag in the street and the sea birds are fighting over it. It makes me uneasy because it’s not something I’ve seen for a while. I get the impression that as deserted as this town seems there are all kinds of people in hiding. It’s scary. I do my share of hiding and being low profile but maybe not enough. I guess with fewer people there are plenty of ways to hide.
When I get home it doesnt seem like it’s been disturbed. I always put the car inside the garage because if I didnt it might end up on blocks when I got back to it. The touch pad is a pain in this ass and my password is uninspired but it serves well enough. I type my kung fu is good and hit enter and the sliding door opens and yawns politely. I go inside and close and lock the door and go into the house thru the kitchen.
Everything looks okay but I’m too skittish to risk staying. I wonder whether to eat something but am afraid to stick around. I have a go bag in the closet and I take it and an already packed suitcase and a frame backpack and schlep them into the car. Then I open the garage door and lock it from the outside and drive off. I have to force myself to slow down so I dont attract attention until I am out of town. I’m heading north but not to Savannah. Farther north than that.
It occurs to me that I didnt even say goodbye to the house. I know it’s eccentric to say goodbye to an inanimate object but I am nothing if not eccentric. It happens when you live alone for as long as I have. But that’s a bad thought that opens up a blast furnace door over a seething, writhing pit of memories that I am just able to close before I start crying.
The coastal plain of Georgia is flat as a pancake and depressing looking. I head inland and as I am driving thru Swainsboro I see a hill. A gorgeous little hill made all the more beautiful by the fact that i have not seen one in years. There will be lots of them where I’m headed but they will be nothing like this one. A cop behind me turns on his flashers and noise and I panic and slam on the brakes and pull over but it’s not me he’s after. Looks like he’s pulled an old lady over for driving too slow but as i pass them i see he’s stopped an old man for Driving While Black.
And I am glad to see the city limits of this foul little town, hill or no hill.