The waiting room is small, functional yet intimate, a quiet and respectful place with a handful of seats set around three of the walls.
You take a seat and glance at the clock on the wall, there’s 5 minutes until your appointment.
With a deliberate, slow, deep breath you check in on your heart, feeling her familiar race and willing her to be calm, she’s safe here, the anxiety of being on time is behind us now.
With a slow exhale you sense her pulse soothing, slowing with your assurance, yet remaining defiant, the anxiety of getting here giving way to the apprehension of arriving, and waiting.
Glancing around the room you remind yourself of the familiar details. In one corner there’s a small alcove with a complimentary water cooler and coffee urn, set up. In the other two corners, a small coffee table for each, a scattering of magazines, a small box of tissues.
You catch yourself instinctively thinking to reach for one of the magazines and flip through its glossy pages to pass the time. But you stop yourself, recognizing your own nervous energy and reminding yourself it’s only a few minutes. You close your eyes and again will your heart to be still.
~ II ~
The road is long, hard and dry. Her twin yellow lines, split down her centre, stretching to infinity.
The land is flat, wide, and uncluttered. There’s no sign of civilization out here, no sign of a home or a cabin, any clues to finding even the smallest of towns, remain hidden beyond the horizon, any memory of a city is long gone.
My motorcycle thrums between my thighs. I squeeze her frame beneath the scoop of her wide black fuel tank and push my weight down through my legs, pressing my boots down into her pegs, flexing and relaxing my muscled buttocks, keeping the blood flowing, essential to fighting the fatigue of all day riding.
I glance down at the dials, rev counter and speed, a steady 80 miles per hour at 4,000 Revolutions Per Minute. This bike is bullet proof, the arid heat doesn’t faze her.
The odometer reads 75 miles. She’s good for 150 before her fuel light will come on. I look back up, staring down both barrels of this long black road, stretching out into the nothing of Nebraska.
It’s been four hours on the road, an hour since the last fuel stop, and at this pace I have to stop every couple of hours, less if a gas station presents itself sooner, because I’m not willing to risk running dry in the distance between the last stop and the next.