Daydreaming
fiction by Javy Gwaltney

September 5, 2011

Perhaps one day I’ll just get into my tiny automobile and start heading west or north in search of the American dream. And once home has finally receded into a little blot in my rearview mirror, I’ll shout “Farewell, Babylon!” just for kicks.

I’ll go roaring across the states as I drive from one coast to the other, meeting other wanderers, knocking back cheap beers in dingy bars, and falling in love with every single person I meet.  And I’ll do all this just because I’m naïve enough, despite all the warning I’ve received, to believe that the American dream can be embodied in something physical—that you can grab it and hold it in your hands. That it’s out there waiting for me, whatever it is: a job or a woman or a vault filled with old money.

Of course you know I’ll search for years. I’ll drift from town to town in my little banged up and beaten car, wearing my dirty shirts and torn jeans. Who knows? Maybe I’ll find it. Perhaps I’ll be staying overnight at an Econolodge in a small town somewhere out in Wyoming or Arizona that’s named Byzantium. And I’ll wake up one fine morning, pull back the curtains, let that blasted, blinding sunlight into my room, and I’ll see it in the parking lot—my dream.  I’ll jump up three feet in the air, click my heels together, and holler “I found you, you rotten bastard! I finally found you!”

I’ll take my dream with me and settle down somewhere. Perhaps marry someone who can put up with me. I’ll hang my little dream on the mantle place for all to see. And then one day, when it no longer means anything to me, when it doesn’t shine quite as brightly anymore, I’ll sell it on Ebay to pay for my kids’ college education.

 

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