• Scott Carnahan

Pullin' outta here to win.

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

An empty apartment with white walls covered in blemishes and scars, the only remaining trace of its previous dwellers. Every scrape on the paint a monument of a moment. Good or bad, for better or worse, memorialized.


A way of life soon to be covered by paint, wiped from the earth. Making way for the next. The years of painted layers are revealed by chips and holes screaming out like ghosts of the past, only to be silenced by a fresh coat.


In the vintage kitchen, above the drawer that can’t open with the oven closed, sits two keys. A shadow of a palm tree and orange light shine through the blinds.

Two car doors slam somewhere outside.


A two door commuter car is loaded down with boxes and suitcases inside, two large plastic containers are ratchet strapped to the roof.


Inside is a couple, neither one talks as they back out of a drive way, tires rolling over the cracked asphalt. As the breaks are tapped their foreheads hit the ratchet straps that hold down their belongings on the roof.


They don’t acknowledge it, they don’t talk. Both of them are verging on tears. Saying goodbye to more than just an apartment but an entire lifestyle. A dream. Going from winner to loser, accepting defeat.


Out onto a crowded freeway, moving like molasses stuck amongst the masses. People in motion for every reason there is, but only a special few are loaded down with all of their belongings heading toward a new life.


Eastbound, with the sunset in their rearview. The skyline of the city that so many years ago was a symbol of hope, now a painful reminder of their failure. The tears fall for both of them, somehow the sunset makes it more real.


They are moving away, leaving behind the last eight years of their lives with nothing to show for it. They took a gamble, by now crying is a trained skill but these salty tears are real for the first time since they came to California. Neither one can hold it back, both falling into a deep cry while keeping up with traffic.


On the other side of the median is another car with far away plates, also loaded and strapped down with belongings. Two bright eyed, eager people heading westbound into the sunset.


Stuck with the masses, slowly moving down the freeway toward their dreams. Fresh meat with a pocket full of optimism and a tragic aspiration. But still they come, young blood pouring in to replace the old. Just as it has been for decades, as one car leaves another replaces it, the everlasting cycle in the land of milk and honey.


Passing though the endless suburbs the traffic finally begins to lift, but as the city lights fade behind them and the desert opens up only one angel can sing them home. With the harmonica’s open, the piano’s build, and Bruce Springsteen’s voice two smiles form where dried tears rest.

Hey, what else can we do now? Except roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair.

Everything changes, the road grabs hold and the journey begins. Two losers, cashing out transform into two heroes of the road. Though it is the city they run from, it is love they run toward. Out on that great American highway.


Well, the night’s busting open, these two lanes will take us anywhere.

The ratchet straps and cheap plastic containers my not look heroic but that does not take away from the romance of running away. It is all about perspective, and Springsteen makes it right.


The night in front of them, full of possibility, and that engine’s hum screams freedom.

It’s a town full of losers, I’m pulling out of here to win.

Singing together they clasp their hands together, off down the interstate toward a new chapter.


Photo by Florian Steciuk on Unsplash
11 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

©2021 by Scott Carnahan.