We start in Charleston and part ways in New Orleans. It’s been eight years since our last roadtrip, four since we last lived together. Years of laughter in the absurdist way possible, of heartbreak and relationships drifting or crashing on by, of figuring out what the hell we wanted out of life. And here we are again, older and perhaps wiser. It feels good to be on the road again.
She’s affectionate; I’m not. She’s shameless; I’ve got a heightened sense of propriety. She befriends people while standing in random queues; I’m an introvert through and through. We’re both impulsive and reckless in different ways. I wax poetic about songs and artists and books. She plays the same three songs on repeat, maddeningly, interminably. We would both move across the country in a heartbeat.
We haven’t planned a thing.
But it doesn’t matter, we’ll wing it. I have visions of stately homes and sweet tea. And so, our trip is a string of towns we’ve harbored certain notions of. Charleston. Beaufort. Savannah. Nashville. We’re in the South, y’all! Y’all is our equivalent of putting a bird on it.
We’re determined to find peaches, but consume bbq instead. Beef and brisket and ribs of once living animals. Pulled pork stuffed inside of things. We drive and drive. Where are the damn peaches? Finally, a peach stand off the interstate. We stuff our face with peaches, as juice drips onto our fingers and our semi-matching ‘Deep South’ and ‘Low Country’ t-shirts we picked up the other day. Palate cleansers, we say.
We consume buckets of grease masquerading as buttermilk chicken and cornbread. And I’m covered in mosquito bites. We blast our version of country music – the Shania Twain Pandora station – and scream along while driving through Chattanooga. I’m certain Nashville’s country legends and songwriters of yore are rolling in their graves.
We spot a minor celebrity that I love at a music joint in Nashville. Or I do, rather. (Her pop culture knowledge ends at 90’s slow jams.) I’m hesitant to bother them. She has no idea who they are, but she grabs my arm, introduces herself, and
steamrolls charms her way to a picture after the show. I’m completely mortified but simultaneously love her for it. We go back to our hotel and watch YouTube videos of said singer-songwriter crush.
We drive on to Cajun country, via Birmingham and Mississippi (M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I!), where we’ll head our separate ways – she to Austin, I to Costa Rica. How far we’ve come. And yet, how much hasn’t changed.