‘A story about discontentment and trying to find home’.
Written by: Raymond Cara
As Laurie glanced back up at her building for what she hoped would be the last time ever, rays of breaking dawn light reflected off the panes of glass, almost blinding her even with the sunglasses she wore.
The beige-tinted lenses were pulled down over her eyes, ready for the long trek ahead. There would almost certainly be congestion getting out of the city this morning, even this early on a Saturday. It was one of many things that Laurie found made big city life so confining — and then there was the stench of exhaust and stale food and garbage; the rising crime rate; and the unrelenting noise of jackhammers.
The hustle-and-bustle energy of the entire rat race was taxing for her on a good day, and so she decided a couple of weeks back that she’d spent enough time employed by a soulless banking institution. It was never an ideal gig but it paid the bills, and it put her graphic design degree to use until she finally worked up the nerve to quit for good.
It was just about time to get out and live somewhere with trees and fresh air, that much had become abundantly clear. She had always fantasized about living in a place with horses, a major selling point for Valeport. Laurie worked hard for years here in the fryer without much of a social life, and as a result her rainy day fund could buy a small house if she wanted.
She didn’t need much, though. A nice quiet life somewhere with one little marketplace and one friendly doctor’s office would be plenty. A welcoming place, where she could peacefully sit near a river and get lost in the more fulfilling worlds of fantasy woven by her literary heroes. Maybe she’d take up gardening. She hadn’t made any particularly close friends here and starting a new life actually sounded refreshing. It wouldn’t be the first time she had done it, but still, it wasn’t getting any easier to actually take the leap.
She had never felt totally at home in the city, though not for lack of trying. The only meaningful relationship that Laurie had made ended when she was ditched for a job opportunity abroad and a slightly higher salary. Since then, she reasoned that after becoming truly vulnerable to somebody for the first time and having it end with disappointment and heartbreak, it just wasn’t worth risking again.
She eventually learned to become quite comfortable with solitude. She had always been self-sufficient, but now she was also content — or so she told herself. This idea of a small-town life had brought new-found optimism that she wanted to nurture and lovingly maintain.
The entirety of her belongings — two luggage bags and one green backpack — were loaded into the open hatch of her old jeep. After releasing an anxious sigh, Laurie jumped into the captain’s seat and hit the high seas, dispelling any lingering whispers of faulty or impulsive decision making.
She switched on the radio for something to occupy her mind, finding nothing but the din of static at first. It wasn’t surprising. The jeep’s underbelly was collecting rust and showing wear as things began to break down more and more often. It had been driven to death, the only means of escape from the heart of the concrete jungle into some open air, an activity that was happening far less frequently of late due to a general sense of apathy. It was just too much effort. After jumping between stations, she finally got some music to come through the speakers.