When you suffer from anxiety, and don’t know it, your panic attacks can come at any time, and when when the root of that anxiety is depression, parts of the lonely Mother Road do little to comfort you.
Like an American Moses, Kyle communed with God on the Sandias, waking before the sun to hear a booming voice. I never even knew he left the motel room. Once again, I was alone. I decided to take our van to Pep Boys—Kyle and I had been driving with our seats, for some reason, on the reverse sides, which meant our seat belts had nothing to click into. With the exception of one ticket from a prick of a cop in Illinois (who lied to us when he stopped the van), Kyle and I had escaped any other reprimand throughout our trip.
At the Pep Boys I met someone who made my fear and anxiety on the road seem so damn trivial, but he also exacerbated it.
I grabbed lunch at Wienerschnitzel, a mistake if I ever made one, and then went back to the hotel to sleep for the rest of the afternoon, not because I wanted to, but because I had to. Kyle returned just before 3:00 p.m., when the rain moved in, and we perused a flea market in a former fancy-schmance department store, never once talking nor looking at the same things. Then we grabbed dinner at a UNM hangout—The Frontier—where the conversation was even more lacking.
Kyle wanted to talk about sunsets. I wanted to talk about how the road was killing me inside.
We both realized this trip was not turning out to be a classic buddy-buddy road-trip. Instead, it was pulling us apart in a thousand different directions, none of which either of us understood until talking it out in New York City over one year later.
This day, my camera stayed in its bag.