Don’t Shoot The Messenger: Memories

Photo by Andrew Koerner

Donovan 2

Still headed north. Thinking of swinging by Chicago. Brian lives there. At least, he did last time I checked. Maybe he’s moved on. Maybe he’s dead.  Both are possibilities. Anyway, Brian plays acoustic guitar. He’s able to make a fair amount busking. He’s got a drum that he’s let me play in the past but I can’t count on that as a source of income. Maybe he sold the drum or the guitar. Maybe he’s found a better drummer to help him.  Maybe he’s gone.

It’s happened before. People disappearing. I stop by a safehouse and the friends I left there are gone. Sometimes they’ve just left the place in someone else’s hands, but sometimes the safehouse isn’t safe anymore. Those are the worst times. I don’t know who’s safe and who’s gone.

I still wonder about some of them sometimes. Kenny was a quiet, shy kid. He hadn’t even finished high school when they came for him. He blamed himself for the death of his parents, as well as his girlfriend and her family. Carried around a staff he’d named after her. It struck me as a little crazy at first, but I can see why he did it. It’s a security blanket for him. It’s hard to let go sometimes. I’m obviously not good at letting go since I’m still remembering him.

Kenny had just started running when I met him. We traveled together for about a month before parting ways. I was able to mentor him during that time. Give him tips and pointers, as well as a list of safehouses people have set up. He was quiet and melancholy the whole time. The guilt weighed on him, I guess. He didn’t cry, though. Not until we finally split up. He spent a goodbye hug sobbing into my shoulder, letting all that pent up emotion out. I hope he’s okay. He didn’t have a car so he was traveling on foot. He told me he was planning on heading to Texas and traveling around there for a bit. I hope he’s settled down in some city or another. It’s rough being on the road if you don’t have reliable transportation.

Then there was Annabel. We spent a good ten weeks traveling together. She was a cute girl. Smart and resourceful, too. Always able to think two steps further ahead than I was. I want to say I stayed with her just because she was a good traveling companion, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I had a bit of a crush on her.

We spent too many nights up late talking about all sorts of stuff. She’d memorized a lot of poetry so sometimes she’d recite some for me and then explain what it meant. I’d tell her about the lore of 80’s cartoons like Transformers and He-Man. She’d always laugh and call me a dork whenever I talked about them, but if I stopped she’d tell me that she’d want to hear more.

I didn’t split up with her on purpose. We ran into a group of headhunters. I told her to stay put and I’d try drawing them away. When I finally managed to lose them I circled back but she was already gone. I don’t know what happened to her or if she got away or not. I stayed in the area for a week, hoping she’d be back. She never showed up.

It’s hard thinking about those I left behind. I have to think about them every time I talk about them here, but it’s more important that I give them their due. If they’re dead, they need someone to remember them. If they’re alive, well…maybe by some random chance, whoever finds this after I’m gone knows where they are and is able to give them some closure.

This one ended up getting kind of depressing, huh? Although I feel like I’ve been saying that about a lot of these entries. I guess there’s not a lot to be optimistic about anymore.

Anyway, still headed north. Probably to Chicago. After that, who knows?