Jordan River, Utah
There is too much to do when you’re left alone. And that creates a world where you get bored constantly. I should of went to sleep, working looming 9 hours away, but I also needed to get in a smoke. So, I took to the nature path right next to my apartment complex.
The sky looked prepared to end the few days of Spring weather, and later it would do just that. I set foot to the asphalt, trying to light up. The wind blew harder and harder. I had to turn completely around before the cigarette started to burn. Huzzah. I turned towards my original direction. One more thing accomplished.
Before me was an old man walking briskly. Ahead of him, two flabby women in tight sweats. It appeared the women just started running or have ignored their failure at it. Either way, they were the median sample of residents that graced this north-south pathway.
I had watched a moving episode of Californiacation and it struck a cord with me. Sins, their admissions and consequences. I scanned my past. I’ve done things. Thing wrong. Things evil. Yet, the vast, vast majority of my time has been approved by the moral code. The good kid. The celebrated actions. Rule follower.
Eyes found mine as I took in a drag. Apparently, this path was a no-smoking path. Joggers, bikers and dog walkers with waist pouches full of tiny water bottles and tiny electrolyte solutions. The fitness-industrial complex has claimed this piece of nature. The looks said I had to get my own. I refused.
The piece of nature was a small amount of land on the west bank of the Jordan River. The river snaked very little. Drainage pipes, small concrete dips created tiny rapids, water department pumps fenced off. I didn’t get why it was protected. The city still crept in. You can see warehouses and factories. It doesn’t get you away from the smog, the cars or even the plethora of trailer parks and complexes. What possible meaning did they get from it? Convenience, I would think. That means a lot to those without time to live.
A man with his hard-faced wife ran by. He had both knees wrapped in black supports. Her face grimaced in some kind of pain that made her twice as ugly. If they were deriving pleasure from their feet pounding hard ground, I didn’t see it.
By the end of the first smoke, I wanted another. No physical reason, I enjoy the habit. Yet, what stopped my hand reaching in my pocket is my past. All the rules. The lectures and the ads. The stigma and the opinions. I shouldn’t, I heard in my head. I can’t. You can choose not to. Its wrong. So many choices, yet everyone wants theirs to be yours. Next time. I leave them be. Next time, I’ll do what I want.
I wondered if LP smoked. The girl I hooked, nearly dated then let go when the Ex pulled her hillbilly disappearing act and left my world spinning. Maybe before I leave we’ll share one. Its a real shame there’s so little time to game her. She would be the perfect rebound. Prettier, younger, same name as the Ex and full of life. Shame.
Before I go back to apartment, I checked the mail. A package lock key sat in the mailbox. I open the corresponding door and find a box. “Too good to me,” I said smiling. Kay, my best friend, teased me for days about sending me some kind of present. The day got a little bit better. The good day streak continued.
Walking to my door, I still wanted that second smoke. I walked inside, fingering the black pack of American Spirits in my hoodie.