UnderestimatedBy: Jettie Woodruff
Of all of the thirty-six alternatives, running away is
I couldn’t hold my eyes open for one more second.
I had just driven two thousand nine hundred and fifty four
miles, fifty seven hours, not including the six hours that I
tried to sleep at the Motel 6, twice. Thirty four more
miles, according to the robotic voice coming from the box
stuck to the windshield of my not so new, used car.
The closer I got, the more my nerves began to
stand on end. What the hell was I doing? Who does this?
Who walks away from their life to start all over? And
when I say all over, I truly mean all over. My entire
existence had been nothing but an illusion.
My name is no longer Morgan Kelley. That one
would take some getting used to. I spent hours of my long
drive going over the aspects of my new life with my
invisible friend in the passenger seat. We actually had
hours of conversations, okay, so they were one sided, but
they were without doubt, conversations. I had even given
my new friend a name and called him slash, after the three
inch gash in the cheap vinyl seat.
My name is Riley Murphy. I moved to Misty Bay,
Maine from Carson, Indiana when my company
downsized, and I lost my job as an advertising rep. The
small two bedroom cottage was a gift from my late
grandmother. “Wow, a small cottage in Misty Bay,
population, one thousand seventy five.” I interrupted my
life studies when reality sat in for the millionth time since
I had left Las Vegas. I mean Indiana. “Dammit Morg...
Shit, I mean Riley.” I need to sleep. I just need sleep. I
can’t function. I know this. I have it all embedded in my
brain. I am going to be fine, and there is nobody from
Misty Bay, Maine looking for me. I had to stop. I couldn’t
repeat my new life out loud or to myself, one more time.
Not if I intended to keep my sanity in tack. It was already
on the verge of toppling over.
“Turn right in one point seven miles,” the robotic
voice instructed. I turned right and was on a curvy
blacktop road barely wide enough for two vehicles. The
coast was absolutely breath taking, and did wonders for
my nerves. I reached over and cranked the handle, rolling
down the passenger side window. My nerves calmed even
more when I heard the waves crashing to the rock walls
below me. I couldn’t believe it. I was going to be living
by the ocean. I could walk along the beach anytime I
wanted, and I would too, I promised myself.
‘Welcome to Misty Bay,’ I finally read the
homemade wooden sign, situated in the fresh spring, green
leafed trees off the side of the road. I drove through the
small town, looking out every window in the car. My head
spun around until it wouldn’t rotate any further. One bank,
one post office, one grocery store, one small library which
looked like it would fit in the one that I use to go to in Las,
I mean Indiana, at least ten times.
‘Reminiscent,’ I read as I pulled to the curb. This
was where I would be working. Me, working in a coffee
shop slash, hippy store. I had never had a job in my life. I
felt a little whinsical thinking about it. I looked into my
rearview mirror. I still had the bruise just below my right
eye, but I had four days to get settled before I started
work. It should be gone by then.
I waited for the school bus to pass and continued
on my journey, excited to finally reach my destination.
“Turn right,” the voice instructed again. I made a right and
was on a one lane graveled road. It was a quaint little
neighborhood, and an older gentleman waved as I passed
him retrieving his mail. “Arriving at destination, on right,”
I was informed. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. The
cottage was sort of by the beach, and I hoped there was a
strategy to get off of the mountaintop to enjoy it. The aqua
blue color of the house had to go. Who in their right mind
would paint a house that color? It was the ugliest blue I
had ever seen. I actually had a sundress pretty close to that
color. I wouldn’t be wearing that, I decided when I got out
of my car. It was the beginning of May and the temperature
might have been sixty. When I left Las, I mean Indiana, it
was ninety nine.
I opened the gate, just off from the driveway. The
picket fence was nice, and I liked the white, but would
unquestionably be changing the color of the house. I
walked up the small porch and unlocked the door, the door
to my new home. “Wow,” I said out loud to no one. The
living room was open and led to the small dining area. I
walked across the hardwood floor to the other side. I
loved the French doors that led to a nice deck, although it
was further away from the beach than I had hoped. I turned