I’ve got a three-week beard and nothing else to do. Tomorrow I’m off.
Darwin was my home for eighteen months and in some ways I’ll miss it. This was my reprieve after the grind through Asia. It gave me familiar faces, food in the fridge and even a bit of money in my pocket.
But fond memories are a poor excuse to stay. There’s one road out of Darwin and I need to take it.
I’m desperate to see red earth, to stand in the middle of nowhere and know I’ve arrived. I want to squint and spit with old cattlemen, hear the floorboards in dusty roadhouses and sleep beneath the Southern Cross, giving thanks for all I don’t understand.
Mostly I need to leave someone behind.
The kid who left the Arctic in 2009 will go no further. He was more ego than experience, begging for joy and misery without being prepared for either. He thrilled for a fight, always ready to test himself against an invisible hand. He could do anything, never knowing that sometimes he shouldn’t.
I’ve outgrown that person, this city. I’ll leave them quietly and without regret, taking with me the small wisdom of knowing what I seek.
And tonight, as the road curves over the horizon like the end of a beautiful question, I smile and wonder if I haven’t found it already.