Author: Kyle Stark
Editor: Jessica Lemire
I was really tired. Sure I’d just woken up and it was only seven in the morning, but I hadn't had my coffee. I moved languidly, as though I had tar slathered all over me. I don’t know, maybe I was doing too much, pre-coffee.
It was my birthday.
I didn’t really care that much, but, being August, and being in my early twenties; being that the view out my window was born of a touching tranquility (the splash was sobering) I asked myself, mid-caffeinating, and like, really asked myself, “what do you want to do for your birthday?”
There was a lot of thought put into that question, on my part, and imagining what I thought my friends would suggest. “I’m going to California today,” I said.
This happened in the summer of 2014. I remember telling my friend about this sometime in the fall of 2016; by that point being a guy that had traveled across the United States on 4-hour notice. So, of course her question, once it found words it could fit into (tightly like when I’d have to help my girlfriend-“relationship”-thing to put her jeans on) was just, “how”?
There were two nice legs to that answer, both with thick thighs. I took the back of both of them with my mitts and the jeans came up slowly.
My retort was simple, “I had to do it and I wouldn't think about it”.
If I started thinking about it, especially then (if, at all) I would have thought about not having anywhere to go, not even knowing where “not anywhere” was. I had money and I just wouldn’t allow myself to think about jobs, leaving behind my “relationship”-thing that wasn’t really a relationship (we were just shitty friends that wanted to bite and be bit and even though I was the biter, I was usually the one that bled. That was the “thing”). So I left. I’d never seen the Pacific Ocean. I’d never seen myself do something crazy that actually wound up being a real once-in-a-lifetime thing, like going to California.
So yah, I pulled the trigger.
You can’t hesitate. Don’t think. There’s not always a 100% right answer that makes complete, absolute, soothing, sense. Decisions can’t be made, and especially can’t not be made with those expectations.
The only 100% absolute fact present, is that you can’t hesitate to do whatever you have to, for the privilege of doing whatever you want to. That even if you feel slow roasted at 350 degrees Fahrenheit over a period of 4 hours, all year, or your whole life, life itself is alive. It won’t give up on you, and it won’t give up for you. All you have to do is move a pinky finger, pinky toe, or blink to push a button.
Now it’s almost June 2017 and my decision-finger is pretty slick. I can feel slow roasted to death and equally unaffected cause that just means I’m a ghost that doesn’t feel life’s bullets. That ability brought me to San Francisco in the summer of 2014, and it’s going to bring me to save lives (just signed up for American Red Cross training courses) 0-100 years from today.
“You’re drop-dead bat shit fucking crazy,” my friend said in the fall of 2016. I was laughing. I’d just told her that I only packed a backpack with 3 changes of clothes and other random, helpful shit like nail clippers, cigs, and snacks; you know, the things you bring when you “leave” your life.
Kyle Stark is a cultural fiction and travel writer from the Chicagoland area, and he has also spent time living in the Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest.
He published his first book “Five Stories and Nine Poems” on Amazon.com in November, 2016, also available to Kindle Unlimited Subscribers. He is currently studying the world of Islam. This includes Islamic history, faith, figures, culture, customs, government, law, society, as well as current political and social issues. See more from Kyle at www.kylestark.net.