I was in stasis at 24 years old. The saying goes, “The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley,” and I was no exception to the rule. It wasn't without trying, but all my life I've been sabotaged. I felt like I had no hope, no control over my future. It took a little more finagling for me than it takes for some, but eventually events led me to the moment I would take control of mine.
I woke one morning feeling as though something were amiss. I looked at my bedside clock; its chipper green digital glow was telling me I had 11 minutes to get my ass to work. I checked my alarm – it had gone off, but I'd obviously slept right through it. Though unusual for my character overall, sleeping late had started becoming something I couldn't control. Not having time even to curse myself, I quickly dressed and made a beeline for my shoes and the door.
I made my way, running, across my driveway to my car, the red scoria gravel shifting and crunching under my feet. After stabbing the key into the ignition I slammed my car into gear, stomped the clutch, and fired up the engine, its eight-cylinder roar matching my self-directed fury. I let up the clutch hard and the tires spun as the vehicle tried to engage gears whirring too fast, kicking up a red spray of sharp, choking dust. None of this helped me get started on my 45 mile trek into town any faster.
The middle of nowhere was not a very convenient place to live by any means, however it did have some advantages. While on the road owned and maintained by my family, I was able to go as fast as I wanted to. The roads, paved with the same scoria gravel as the rest of the rural “back roads,” were sinuous and slippery. This made them unsafe at higher speeds, but an “I'm late!” panic and an uncanny familiarity with every twist and turn allowed me to make pretty good time. All things considered, I still had approximately an hour long drive to look forward to.
It was still very early – that almost magical dawn time when the sun hasn't quite peeked over the horizon, yet the sky is no longer dark but pale purple, faint pink and orange fire. Isolated as I was, there was no radio to distract me, no one to wave at in passing; only an aggravated chewing sound as the gravel met tread, punctuated by pops and clanks as larger stones were hurled against my cars frame and undercarriage. Lazy, bovine lumps dotted the pastures to either side of the road, lowing to announce my passage, then becoming obscured by dust as I blew by. There was something allegorical about that red cloud, allowing me to see everything ahead, and nothing behind. It was a mirrored reminder of how things from my past were obscuring the path I was trying to find for myself in life.
I thought about my dreams, one after another. It started with college. My original goal had always been to be a music teacher. I had applied for a music education program at a fine school on the east...