By myself. All alone. And I will feel the way the dark encompasses the car, and the glow of the radio.
Music will play, something both raw and quiet. The lights on the Skyway whip past at an alarming speed, but I've found Indiana's police to be quite forgiving when it comes to speed.
The first time I heard that the freeway that separated me from the lake was called the Skyway, I was enchanted. Then I realized that it was just a road.
However, the name never lost it's magic.
Past the gas station that lets me know it's only half an hour from here.
Through the town that shuts down at nine.
The little wooden shack where they sell worms for fishers, the paint chipping off the sign out front.
"Welcome to Lake Isabella" the sign reads. My heart is up in my throat, and it's all I can do to not cry.
Into the circular driveway, the very place I learned to ride a bike, then later, to skateboard.
Floodlights leap on, startling me. Turn the car off with shaky hands. Lean against the headrest. Let a long breath out. My phone tells me it's four am.
Slowly leave the car with just my overnighter. The tears are coming in a steady flow by now, as I walk the steps up to the kitchen door. The smell of the dew laced wood is something familiar. It brings on nostalgia so deep it's like a reverie. The door, and how it tries to slam your ankles. And I'm home.
The tacky green carpet that screams 90's. The walls painted in warmth. That scent of lake water, good food, and those little plug in air fresheners that stay in my clothes for months.
Collapse on my bed. My room is right off the front door. Wake up at eleven, which is actually ten back where I live.
Sit at the table in the kitchen with a mug of warm coffee. Forgot to bring my own, and so it's Folgers instead of Starbucks. My grandparents aren't coffee snobs.
Tap my fingers across the table. Remembering all those years ago when Kevin and I were strapped into our respective booster chairs, flinging food at the floor.
Steam from my coffee. Eyes close. Then open sharply.
Run back to my room, where the walls are blue and I have a little shelve of books I've torn through.
Knees sink to the carpet, soft though old.
Reach underneath the bed, pulling out a translucent blue Rubbermaid container of paints and charcoals. Water colors that I've done years ago, sitting at the table listening to piano music in the back ground.
And later, when I walk to the lake, down the concrete steps that I rode my bike down and rub the scar above my eyebrow where I hit the ground. Skipping over those garden stones with our hands imprinted in them. Mine only a fraction of the size it is now, with my initials "JC" scrawled messily besides. Still remember the day, even though it was the Summer before Trinity was an entity, so I was only six.
Down to the very point, where I stand, on the dock, to think.
The water is glass because it is only Wednesday and people don't start flooding in until at least Thursday.
This isn't "my happy place" or any of that nonsense. I've been here at good points in my life as well as bad ones. Lived here the Summer when my brother was in the hospital and no one knew what to do with me. I've cried myself into a headache on the screened in porch more than once. There was also that summer when I didn't know if I'd ever walk correctly again after an accident. I limped along the dirt path in a painfully slow way.
So, no. This isn't a place where everything is perfect. But rather, something in my life that has been consistent.
Maybe I'll sit here awhile. And throw stones to penetrate the surface.
And remember what my life felt like.
Up until this moment.
And if I'm really lucky, I'll forget that I exist. Instead I'll be a cloud or a drop of rain or a leaf in this still silence that wraps around me like a blanket.