Greg was driving out West because he was out of ideas.
He passed through a long stretch of nothing but golden fields and the occasional billboard. Roads crisscrossed the fields, perfectly straight.
The plains appeared endless. Greg felt he was falling farther back, back into the plains. He was certain that if he turned down any one of the long, straight roads he would drive on forever
Greg’s great, great grandparents from Germany had been farmers in Kansas. The Old World must have been truly intolerable to them to make these abysmal plains a better prospect.
The Europeans who populated America hadn’t been looking for “freedom” or a “better life.” They were simply tired of the ways of their forebears. America might be better than the Old World, or it might not. It might even be worse. But at least going there represented a break with tradition.
Greg felt like the mere outcome of historical forces. In driving West he sought to escape his past. Yet he was only going deeper into it.
There truly was nothing new under the sun. Out here in the plains one understood this, viscerally. One was naked before self, history, and god in the plains.
“Best Hamburgers in Kansas,” read a billboard. “3 Miles Ahead.”
Beef would do him good. Beef and a cup of coffee.
The places people lived. Folks out here were grasses blowing in the wind, spreading their seeds to the air, laying down roots in the earth. Man, the invasive species.
Greg had a recurring dream of living in a shack in the plains. The shack was warm and cozy, all was provided, and he did not want to leave.
In the dream, a black car appeared at the cabin. Greg got in the backseat and off the car went, straight into the golden fields.
Greg thought the dream was about death. Then again, all dreams were about death.