Allow me to introduce Renee Liss, a fellow writer, blogger, and friend! You can visit her blog here.
A Short Trip
by Renée M. Liss
The words stared at Shayna from the pages of the magazine, taunting her. “Where do you want to be?”
“Well,” she thought, “certainly not here.”
This was true in reality and metaphorically. She was not living the life she wanted to live and she was not living in a place she enjoyed. The words spoke to her in a way the article’s author did not intend when he wrote them. The article was about religion. Some anonymous editor pulled out that line to highlight in the page’s layout. Was it the Universe talking to Shayna through this page? Or just a silly coincidence?
But where Shayna wanted to be, she didn’t know. Looking back over the last 35 years, she only knew that she never wanted to be where she was at any particular moment. Yet once she left a place, she wanted to go back. Because, after all, the place before was so much better than where she was. She bounced from job to job, always thinking something about the new job would be better than the old one. She moved from city to city, state to state, always seeking that elusive Perfect Place.
“It simply doesn’t exist,” she said out loud. To herself. Because there was no one else around to hear her.
And then she realized she’d been pondering this great philosophical question way too long because she looked at the clock on her computer and it told Shayna the time was 5 p.m. Time to go home. Time to figure out what to eat for dinner. Time to find anything and everything to do that was not what she should be doing.
She should go for a walk. She should go to the bookstore and sit in the café and plan her future: the one that did not include slaving away at a desk job 40 hours a week waiting for something to happen to her. This would all be so much easier, Shayna thought, if she just knew what it was she wanted.
And at that moment, Shayna made a decision. She was quitting. Her job. Her life. She was going to reinvent herself. She’d hand in her resignation tomorrow, quit the lease on her apartment, sell what she could and give away the rest. She’d pack up what few belongings she had left, clean out her savings and go on the road. She was going to drive across the United States, explore Canada, fly to Europe and backpack. She’d live on her wits alone. People had been doing that for thousands of year. Why couldn’t she?
Shayna’s long blond hair trailed behind in the wind as she wound her red convertible along city streets toward home. Home. What was home? It was where a person felt most comfortable and safe. Shayna felt safe, but not comfortable. She knew she was making the right decision. She knew it!
She unlocked her front door, kicked off her high heels and threw herself down on the couch, curling her legs underneath her body. She pulled her laptop off the desk next to her and starting researching travel routes, hotels, places she could stop and stay with friends for a while. She checked her bank account, did some math and budgeting in her head and then on paper.
“This really could work!” she said, excited.
Shayna typed out a resignation and put in writing her intention to vacate her apartment in 30 days – though she hoped it would be sooner. She posted everything she could on Craig’s List. All the while, her excitement grew. She wouldn’t stay in one place long enough to grow restless. She wouldn’t have time to learn to hate a place. She would be free of obligations. Maybe she could write articles for a travel magazine somewhere to finance her wanderings once her money ran out.
The thoughts and plans ran faster and faster through her mind. It made her smile. She was doing this!
Shayna finally exhausted herself, falling into bed at 1 a.m. The alarm sounded at 6:30. She dragged herself out of bed, a little more energized than she should have been. The adrenaline rush from the night before continued coursing through her, forcing her up and out. This was it. This was her moment.
Shayna showered, dressed and ate breakfast. She grabbed her printed and signed resignation letter off the desk and walked out the door. She arrived at work at 8:30, set her things down in her office and headed toward her boss’s door, holding the letter. She raised her hand to knock.
That was the moment Shayna froze. She looked down at the letter. Her stomach knotted. She returned to her own office.
She bawled up the letter, threw it away and proceeded to delete every add she had placed on Craig’s List.
“Next year,” she thought. “Next year, I will leave and never come back.”