Of course, once we were off the parkway it wasn’t as much fun, the road full of traffic. Big rigs crawling in the inside lane, and me feeling, well. Nervous.
Definitely nervous. I’d gotten so tense I probably needed a spa day. Or some other way to outright force me to relax.
Well, if nothing went wrong on this trip it would help. The problem was convincing myself there was any likelihood of nothing going wrong. Before nothing did, by which point it would be essentially too late, I’d be back and facing all of the same decisions.
A hawk circled above the highway, looking for roadkill. Clean up crew, I thought wryly. But definitely a hawk, not a raven. Hopefully Odin would leave me alone and let me take a vacation.
Unless I was needed. And maybe I could avoid being needed. We kept heading north. Through that east coast megalopolis I talked about earlier, but at least there were some breaks in it. A farm. A field with horses in it. Small stands of trees.
An outlet mall.
It was all so ordinary, so banal. So much as if the real world was hidden behind a veil.
Maybe that was what I needed, though.
Finally, I spoke, “I’m too anxious.”
“I know. Maybe…”
“Maybe we should stop somewhere good for relaxation.”
“I think you just need to…” She pauses. “Worry about the bad guys when they show up?”
It was good advice. “Well, we’re not stopping at the outlet mall.”
She laughed. “Maybe at the end of the trip.”
I thought about that. “Maybe. It might not be bad. Right now, though, I don’t want to even think about clothes.”
Kanesha laughed again. “What about swords?”
I just hoped I could find it in myself to follow her advice. She was right. I’d be a wreck if I didn’t stop worrying about what might happen as opposed to what already did and had.
And right now, nothing was, so I could relax and focus on driving. After I switched off with Kanesha, I curled up in the shotgun seat and just watched America go by.
Thought of the various places I’d been. Thought of how none of them could really be home, and how I had to remember that, see it as truth. My true home wasn’t even in this reality.
It helped a lot. Leave it, Sigyn had said. I realized she didn’t necessarily mean physically.
I could protect it, and care about it, without letting myself be so emotionally tied.
I would, though, never leave Kanesha. No, maybe not never, but…
I loved her. And there were all kinds of different kinds of love. I loved protecting people, but that didn’t mean I loved them all.
It was a clarity of mind I hadn’t experienced in a while. I analyzed it, appreciated it, and then closed my eyes.