Life is a Highway
Seventeen months ago I was hurtling through darkness across the Nullarbor. It would have been about 3:40am, but that seems specific and betrays the fact that I really don't know the time. That's without considering the difficulties of time difference with daylight savings factored as well.
That morning, which I think was yesterday morning, I'd been asleep in my bed. But that was a pie, two iced coffees, a bouncy ball, a couple of abos and a schnitzel away. Thousands of kilometres on cruise control. A pipeline had been followed that I don't think had started yet. I was on the longest straight length of road in the southern hemisphere and simultaneously asleep. Or awake. I remember very shitty coffee which I was more thank thankful for. Just the concept of working out how shitty it was bought me minutes of consciousness.
In the back-seat my Dad and brother were sleeping in seats were I was either not sleeping or maybe sleeping. I hadn't slept at all since being in my bed, but I'd woken up over the Western Australia border.
In the front passenger seat was Steve. He was also staying awake through coffee analysis, push-ups and reading a fantasy novel in the light of the glovebox.
'Fox!' I spotted it first. That's how roadkill poker worked. Whatever you spotted first you added to your hand and whoever got the best hand won. I was almost on a full house. Two dead roos and two dead bunnies. Steve had three foxes and an echidna. It was going to be close.
'Fox!' I repeated, blinking rapidly as I realised it was 2 hours later and I was in the passenger seat. My fingers touched my chest, feeling the saliva that had trailed down my shirt. I didn't remember all the micro sleeps that had prevailed. I didn't remember the sun.
'Thanks' said Steve. Driving across the Nullarbor at night is essentially just turning your high beams off when trucks approach. Doesn't seem that complicated compared to real life, which was spreading a distance away now.
I woke up in the backseat. I'd chosen 15 minutes of napping over showering at a truck stop. The sun was rising, but not in a shining way. It was grey, the sun was fucking lazy. Casting monochrome illumination over wherever we were. I eventually roused myself upright and sought out a sandwich and juice. I made eye contact with Steve as we mentally acknowledged that we'd spent six hours and six hundred kilometres forging through the darkness with essentially the power of our minds.
I woke up again. I'd chosen 10 minutes of napping over showering at the truck stop. I could smell the steam over the scents of my dreams. We were eight overtaking lanes away from where I thought we were in the last paragraph. A totalled car was wrecked next to where we parked, dragged to the rest stop from wherever whoever had died. I stretched my legs for the sake of the cliché. The summer dirt seemed damp. I went back to drooling on my self, hung from a seatbelt above a pillow.
Two weeks ago Alex turned 18. In another week my Dad turns 50. By the end of the year Steve turns 21. This ramble basically proves I cannot describe the value I have for these three people in my life, my brothers and my father. My whole life I'm basically in a tiny cabin hurtling into the unknown with only their support, conversation, teasing and character to drive me on. I'm independent, I could live without them. But with them I can achieve those impossible things.
I'm the only one not celebrating a milestone life anniversary this year, which makes me feel strange. Because they all seem to be pretty secure in their paths, tracked along pipelines, whereas right now I feel like I'm hurtling into the unknown darkness without enough sleep. Every time I close my eyes I can remember the uncertainty that's ahead. But It's remembering moments like that trip that I know that I'm never alone. And I remember that sunshine and model hills are found in any direction. Whether they're in your dreams or after you wake up I'm still learning.
Happy Birthday kin.