I drove on through the night, fueling up my truck with gasoline, myself with Mountain Dew and listening to loud music from radio stations that broadcast from somewhere out in the darkness. There was not too much to look at, the freeway was dark for most of my trip, except for the big cities.

     Chicago was a blur, but the city I looked forward to driving through was Des Moines, Iowa. I was not too impressed. If there is such a thing as a “typical Midwestern city”, Des Moines was exactly it.

     I stopped at a gas station there to get some caffeine in me. I must have been in the shady side of town off I-80. It was kind of run down and I remember construction on the freeway. The gas station was dirty as was the woman behind the counter. This is not how I imagined Des Moines, but now that I was there, I can say I was there.

     Des Moines also marked the half way part of Iowa. That seemed like a long state to drive through. Again, it is in the middle of the plains and there was a whole lot of nothing to see once I got away from the city lights.

     I flew through that state and when I got to the end of it, Nebraska was next. With it, Omaha, which is right on the state line. When I got to the line I was to call the girl I was driving to see. From there, she was to guide me in to her house.

     Omaha was a city right on the Missouri River, which bordered Iowa and Nebraska. I felt weird for being, what I felt, right in the heart of the country. I was in the middle of the United States. The time changed too, as I learned a few hours earlier, thanks to the radio.

     As I was talking to her on my cell, I had started to think about not meeting her. I started to feel like I should not do this.

     But I was extremely tired and I had driven this far. I started to talk myself into just going over there and meet her real quick, then leave and get a hotel room.

     A few minutes after crossing into Nebraska and being on the phone, I was in front of her house. It was an older, big, two story house. The neighborhood seemed nice from what I could tell by the glow from the street lights.

     I got out of my truck and walked to the door. I was nervous. I started to think about what if she didn’t look like anything in the picture I had seen? What if this was some kind of cruel joke? Am I gonna get killed here?

     I approached the dark, unlit house. I rang the doorbell with the feeling that my heart would beat right through my chest. As I stood there for a minute, I didn’t hear anything. So I rang the bell again.

     This time I heard the sound of someone running to the door. The lock unlocked and then the door quickly opened. It was still dark and unlit.

    As the door opened, I could make out the figure of a woman’s body, but I could not see her face or anything inside the house. Grabbing my hand, she told me to hurry up and come inside.

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August 2020


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