My brother graduated high school when I was 21, and the two of us packed up our cars and moved to North Carolina on a whim. I left a good woman behind, family. Mostly I was motivated by a certain Americana spirit that was just starting to grow scarce after the death of Johnny Cash and the rise of anti-nationalism in the west. I’d listen to Gram Parsons and Ryan Adams and I’d fantasize about long quiet roads and great wooden fence cages of golden grass.
I’d listen and I’d think of the future. This black unknowable that I would look away from as often as possible. Sometimes I’d imagine the best I could hope for. Always a bit like a dream, but the south was not the dream I thought it. It was a great adventure- terrifying, illuminating- but it was not a journey into any fantasy of southern comfort and love.