The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 33
The wind picked up during the night. It was now cold, damp, rainy, and breezy. Rich was too deep in his sleep to keep the fire going throughout the night. When awake he was too comfortable to remove himself from the sleeping bag.
Eventually, he roused, started the fire again, and brewed a cup of tea. He listened to the radio and the weather man said to expect rain for the next two days. He huddled in the tent and read the map by his flash light.
Bath, Maine seemed like a demanding goal. By this point there was little doubt in mind as to his ability to travel whatever distance determined. He felt seasoned as a cyclist, confident in his abilities. He was determined to avoid Route 1 as much as possible. It likely was well traveled and felt safer with as little traffic as possible.
Rich packed his bike and peddled through Sanford, Maine. It was still dark although he knew it should be daylight by then.
Fog hung low and thick like cigarette smoke in some cheap dive or honky-tonk bar where sad, lonely and desperate people go to find sad, lonely and desperate people to share a tale of betrayal and gloom over a glass of beer that has grown warm and flat. Those places are where solitary men sit at bars with eyes half shut studying the glistening liquor bottles on the back of the bar and contemplating meaninglessness.
A creeping sadness began to envelope Rich. A sadness and longing for home haunted him like a song that would not leave his head. It seemed like a dirge rather than an irritating nameless tune. Perhaps it was the dream of Duke the night before. Rich became so emotional with feelings of regret and sentimentality that he desired only to sit under a tree and just fade away. He was frightened if this is how the desire for suicide is first germinated. “After all, one could reasonably take a clinical look at my behavior and determine I was insane, incompetent, and, incorrigible. I reminded myself of the times my Dad thought I was insane. He worked at a state mental hospital and he should know. Perhaps I did need special care, medication, or shock treatments.”
The beauty, he thought was Maine, had long gone. It was dismal and dreary, not to mention cold, wet, and windy. The only positive was that the wind was to his back. Cars splattered rain from the road into his face, they passed too closely, and honked as though angry.
He peddled with no passion or hope. He peddled with resentment and misery. Every small incline in the road became a reason for cursing. He resented the bike, the load on the bike, and himself. The distance from where he was to where he wanted to go seemed further than the first day of his journey. He had the handle bars full of more money than he’d ever seen in his life and that did not make Rich feel comforted or secure. He imagined himself at home in his room and pictured himself morose and depressed there also. Nothing seemed to shake him from this terrible disposition that clung to him like a rotting dead body. He was not amused by a reflection of the good that had come his way in the last few days. He thought this was due a punishment and needed to be carried it out.
Small towns slipped by without notice. Days earlier he was alive with amazement at every town he went through and every bend in the road. Rich was now numb and becoming hateful. He thought, “was this now reality taking hold? Was this what my Dad dealt with? Could I somehow become enraged if someone were here with me? If I become my father, what? Here I am, so close but so far away. This must be the end of my journey for I see nor imagine anything beyond the present. There no hope. What would Billy Bopper do?”
Rich became increasingly irritated at the rain and the chill. It seemed as though he had been cold his entire life and was to remain that way forever.