Run­ning Dry

Hello Mr. Magazine - - NEWS - By Evan At­wood

I hadn’t moved or talked to any­one in days. The most I could do was go to the kitchen to eat what­ever was in the fridge, which at that point was an empty gal­lon of al­mond milk and two sweet pota­toes. It was a Satur­day morn­ing. I knew I had to try and leave the house, but I was hav­ing trou­ble get­ting out from un­der my sheets. In­no­cently, I kept think­ing about sit­ting on a cliff, fall­ing off the edge, the wind in my hair.

Just a month ago, I was en route to New York for an ex­hi­bi­tion my pho­tog­ra­phy would be a part of. Com­ing from Farm­ing­ton, New Mex­ico, I couldn’t be­lieve I would show art in per­haps the big­gest city I would ever visit. I still couldn’t be­lieve it as I danced that night in a base­ment bar while Robyn played. In the light from a sin­gle disco ball, I smiled. It was a mo­ment worth re­mem­ber­ing. I was think­ing about this mo­ment when I woke up, and it felt so far away.

I went to a cof­fee shop in an at­tempt to shake this state. I tried to make eye con­tact with some­one, any­one. When I fin­ished my cof­fee, I got to my car, put the keys in the ig­ni­tion, and sat there. I could count the items in my car on one hand. Wa­ter in an off-brand Nal­gene bot­tle, my back­pack, my cam­era, half a bot­tle of hot wine, gum wrap­pers. I turned out of the park­ing lot and took the first en­trance onto the in­ter­state. I started driv­ing south. I wanted to see the dunes in Cal­i­for­nia at sun­rise.

Be­fore I knew it, hours had passed, and the sun was start­ing to set be­yond the moun­tains to the west. I con­cen­trated on the sounds of driv­ing. The cathar­sis of a road trip had run dry. I was still nowhere near where I wanted to be, so I kept driv­ing. I fo­cused on the lines of the road blur­ring to­gether. When I pulled over at a rest stop south of Phoenix, it was 105 de­grees out at twi­light. I could ac­tu­ally feel the sweat droplets com­ing out of my body. I won­dered what would hap­pen at the tip­ping point, whether any of this was a good idea.

Three more hours and two pee brakes later, I was in the im­pe­rial dunes just north of the Mex­i­can border, and it was near­ing mid­night. It was near­ing mid­night, and it was

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