I haven’t been posting lately and, I promise, I can explain. But not right now. Right now I’m going to talk about Wyoming.
Here’s where we left off: Colorado.
So. I was camping that night waiting to head on over to Wyoming to see a dear friend, Mana. They were working seasonally as a line cook in Saratoga. The drive to Wyoming was empty. What cars I did see on the road were going the opposite way. I felt like I was driving into a wreckage. This is bad foreshadowing, though, because Wyoming was nothing like a fire and everything like a still lake, or a nice stale beer you don’t mind after too much soda.
That is, until my departure, but we’ll get to that.
I arrived in Saratoga, Wyoming at an ice cream shop which was quickly followed by a bar. My friend and I caught up and traded lives. It was good to feel at home after so much isolation.
“I can’t believe we only graduated a week ago,” Mana said.
I took a sip of my beer. “It’s been a lifetime. I’m not the same person. Like, I feel like I’ve grown exponentially since I left.”
“It’s the new context. We think of ourselves as these immutable beings but we’re like water. We change states depending on our environment. If you didn’t know what ice was melted you would cringe seeing even a drop in your glass of water.”
A short, comfortable silence.
“I’m feeling pretty tipsy already,” I said, breaking it.
“It’s the altitude, man.”
Mana apologized for their living conditions before we ever arrived at their house, remarking on its grunginess. They obviously forgot where we used to live not too long ago: a 60 person dorm with one kitchen and communal bathrooms. Moldy everything. When we finally made it from the bar to the house, it was clean enough. And airy. Homey. Dogs everywhere. They had a room mostly to themselves, which I made myself comfy in.
The days were spent talking much of the same talk about life, identity, and the relativity of time. The conversations flowed out of us freely and we lingered from topic to topic through the days. We didn’t feel attached to our shared recent past because it seemed to lack relevance in our present and immediate future, even maybe our foreseeable future. Mana was talking of their dreams of chefdom. I spoke of the road. We both were surprised at how badly we wanted trucks. It was scary, how fast we felt we were adapting to our new lifestyles and how foreign we felt to ourselves. But also kind of freeing. Still is.
When Mana went to work I would languidly remain in bed, sometimes for the whole day, until they got back, enjoying the fact I had one to be lazy in.
Then one morning it was Mana’s first day off they had had for two weeks. We decided to go hiking up in Medicine Bow. The snow had yet to melt and as I drove higher into the mountains there was less and less of road and more and more of snow. I could tell Mana was getting nervous. We’re from Florida, after all.
“Don’t go up this road, Azia. we don’t want to get stuck.”
I laughed. “We won’t get stuck,” I said.
A few minutes later two Florida girls were leaning too sideways on a snow bank in a buried silver Buick. One kept laughing, the other started.
We were there for a while.