Road trip 2016
Seventeen years later, in 2016, D and I stopped at the north of Grand Canyon during our road trip to Santa Fe. We had spent the morning in Death Valley, where we had camped the previous night, so we got on the road a little too late. I checked the website of the lodge we were staying in and found the restaurant was closing at 8 pm. Recalling the past incident, I urged D to speed up, or else we’d miss a meal. It was the end of October. We made it to the lodge at what we thought was 7:40 pm. D checked in, and I hurried to the restaurant to secure the table. The restaurant was busy, all the tables still in the middle of their meal instead of the end. D caught up with me and told me it was still 6:40 pm. Arizona didn’t change the clock.
We headed to our cabin after dinner. The moment we stepped into it, I got the flashback—the dark brown of the wood and red of the rug. It was the same lodge I stayed in seventeen years before. I gasped and sat on the bed on which I once ate my sandwich with Mark. As much as I was delighted by my return, I felt sad firstly for my young self, then for my current self.
As a young woman, I hopped onto every wagon of opportunity for new experiences, believing it’d be once-in-a-lifetime—the relationship with Mark was one, and the road trip another. In three months, I was going to return to the confinement of my life in Japan, which I believed would consist of the repetition of the same people and places. Such limited belief made my experiences in America felt special, but it also made my life miserable afterward when it was temporary mundane. I would want a spark and flame in life where there was no flint. Fast-forward to 2016, not only that I was at the same edge of the canyon, but also I was at another brink of an ending.