The blinds opened to another sunrise and Ellen watched the whispers of light illuminate the fragile pink petals beneath the tree. The tree signaled the arrival of another spring and a quiet thought niggled into her consciousness. “How many springs will I have?” The eternal question was followed by the restless twitch of dissatisfaction. She listened in silence to the morning birds and felt the daily humiliation of an aging body.
Having arrived early, Ellen sat in the examination room and recognized how she has never felt she belonged. A natural born nomad from a small town, she waited for answers that had nothing to do with her real existence. There is no genetic explanation she always felt the horizon held answers or at least an exotic escape. Caramel colored eyes constantly searched the edge of possibilities for an oasis in the land of mirage, her suitcase always open.
She ignored the constant pain as she mentally catalogued her life’s addresses. Ellen found comfort in looking back instead of forward. She recognized the Midwesterners beat back the vast grasslands into neat rows of commercialized corn, erasing family farms. No trace of the buffalo was left; they were replaced with a conservative fear of reality and Denny’s restaurants. In Arizona she remembered the day and night battle to master the desert with stolen water and concrete. She chuckled that only crazies spoke of the lights that witness their futile war. Everyone else kept silent or denied the nightly visits.
The leather skinned escapees of the northeast hid in Florida’s rows of white houses. They cowered in conditioned air mocking the fantasy and tourist traps, which drew them to AltaVista Boulevard. Each new arrival turned a blind eye to the developers who gobbled up the swamps orphaning original residents in the race to white sands and skin cancer.
It was the northwest that filled Ellen’s glasses with ancient grandeur and a green reward from weeks of gentle rain. Every eye that could tear away from the computer screen was rewarded with the grandest nature has to offer and a call to the outdoors. A land too magnificent to be paved over by civilization.
The sound of the clinic brought her back to the present moment. They don’t need to tell her, Ellen knows she has run out of land and time. Her bucket list of unexplored locations fades, with the satisfaction of Italy, Central America and Ireland. Ellen returns to her present address, ironically it’s on wheels. She will eat a frozen dinner and wait to sleep with a prayer for dreams of inspiration. She ignores the new horizon she didn’t expect so soon. Years of looking for a home were really the journey she signed up for.