We pushed west burning out on crushed ephedrine energy, ignoring reflected cautions and riding the empty overnight hard. Blackness yawned in fields of dead corn—just empty space where headlights punctured conversation. And that blankness gave our demons more room to play.
Chain-smoking prepackaged intentions. And drinking preconceived confessions. Allowing angry bluegrass to help keep the time. Leaving a window cracked to let the smoke merge with the first hits of an indignant dawn rising behind in a blurry Indiana rear-view mirror.
She sat quietly—a detached passenger, as Starke County disappeared. I did my best to give chase—in-patient freedom waited, impatiently, just across state lines. But only if I pushed hard enough. Because I knew we had to gain the ground before those damn demons did.
She bent her words—crafting heated dialogue mirroring the right angle turns of Indiana State Road 10. Tears dropped like mile markers. Then a silence roared over an engine overheating from the abuse.
There were just too many miles. And not nearly enough smiles. Our polluted journey left us rigidly divided—channeled and fake, like the unnatural course of the once mighty Kankakee, that drastically manipulated river where all these flyover dreams must someday go to die.
Beside a fake river, stitched into a sea of broken corn stalks, we said a last goodbye. Shared an awkward final cigarette conversation. Stood as intimate strangers do, when they know they have reached the end of the line and the ride is done.
She took back to the road populated with more handsome opportunities; I crawled back into the
bottle typewriter. I had no excuses; she had all her inexcusable demons. I could only stand, with most of Indiana at my back, watching her tail light embers fade south.
And the damn Kankakee just kept flowing west to meet the Des Plaines somewhere in Illinois, on that long journey over to the Mississippi— a significant confluence we were never destined to see.