The 'Redefining Home' segments of this blog reflect the trip back home that Robin and I took over the summer. These entries are important by their own merit for the sake of a story. However, what some of you may or may not know, the emphasis of these stories is the fact that said journey was when we became (re)aware of the idea of home.
For almost the entirety of our time spent in Portland thus far, our idea of home was lost in the shuffle. Monuments that had been created no longer existed. Comforts of past memories were saved for evenings of discussions and drinking. Tongues became swords pointed at the throats of the ones we thought we knew. Although poison still drips from the same tongues, we've reevaluated and reassessed our ideals. The two of us have recreated the fuel that was intrinsic all along.
Keeping this in mind, our idea of home is different than it was even a year ago. We know where we come from, we know who we are. We know where we stand with the people that we care about. We know that the Midwest is ours and will always will be, because we did our time and we earned it.
During this journey, in between the hangovers and lack of sleep, our friend Sonia gave us one of the best gifts we could have ever received. It was a much needed breath of fresh air, even if only for a few moments. It put everything into perspective. It was infinite.
Robin and I had spend that Sunday at her mom's house drinking wine and talking while catching up on our favorite television shows. To anyone that lives in Fort Wayne, getting drunk on a Sunday is a special occasion. It's a different dynamic, a different feeling. It's got the comfort of a regular drinking-night, but with the transience of a fleeting glory. To some of us, it can be illegal (like going to Ohio for booze). To others, some can look like gods because there's a fully-stocked fridge on a Sunday night.
Regardless, we passed the hours away with discussions and wine and food. Sleepily, we awaited the arrival of Sonia. We were under the impression that she was taking us to a shitty dive bar in the middle of nowhere. After a bottle of wine each, it sounded like a great idea. There's no rest for the weary and we were all for it. Sonia knocked at the door and that was our cue to leave.
Saying our goodbyes and grabbing our things, Robin and I piled into the car with Sonia, our friend Amber in tow with Sonia's boyfriend. Sonia was driving us to a place called The S-Bridge. A couple minutes into the ride, Sonia's boyfriend chimed into the conversations with a question.
"So, what's this bar like?", he asked Sonia. This entire trip was masterminded by her, therefore making her the authority.
"...What bar?" Sonia, in complete seriousness, responded.
We all glared at each other, trying to telepathically figure out what the fuck Sonia was thinking. The three of us that weren't Sonia chimed in seemingly all at once. "..The bar that you're taking us to...?"
"We're not going to a bar...", Sonia replied. "It's just something I've gotta show you."
Resigned to the fact that we weren't going to wile away the hours drinking at a bar, we became quiet, trying to keep the conversation going. It is in these desperate nights when one can feel most alive. The rubber on the road, the dim dashboard lights burning like beacons, the wind and smoke coursing through the car. These are what one lives for while spending time on the road. I then realized that I had a flask of gin in my bookbag and pulled it out. The bottle was passed around the car as we coursed through the night.
After double-checking the route, we wound our way through the nowhere country of Indiana. Far from city lights and strip malls, we found ourselves twisting and turning in the moonlit night through the fields of Avilla. None of us, with the exception of Sonia, knew what to expect.
Driving over a steel bridge, we pulled into a gravel parking spot on the side of the road. "We're here!", Sonia exclaimed.
We stepped out of the car into the darkness of the night. Searching our surroundings, none of us had any idea as to what was in store. We followed Sonia down the road we had drove in on and found ourselves on the steel-beam bridge. "Just wait," Sonia said, "You'll see."
Within a few minutes, we heard the holler of the train and saw a blinding light down the track. We then realized that we were on a bridge that perpendicularly spanned a train track. The lot of us jerked our heads towards Sonia with fire in our eyes. My heart swelled. We all followed Sonia's direction and sat down on the bridge, our legs dangling over the edge, feet rested on an I-beam.
Only a couple seconds had passed between the horn of the train and its rushing beneath our feet. We were choked by diesel smoke and immediately clung to the bars of the bridge for dear life. The train passed underneath, rocking and swaying us as it bore down the track. The ferocity of it was frightening and thrilling. My legs twitched with the fear that they would be removed by the train. The soles of my shoes were a foot from the top of the train. I felt like I had been lifted to the stars. Not one thing mattered in those few moments. Everything was forgotten. I became infinite.
After the last car barreled underneath the bridge, I came back to earth. The breath returned to my lungs. I was back where I belonged.
"...Holy FUCK, Sonia!!", I shouted, crawling to my feet. "How did you pull that one off??".
She flashed a smile and pulled out a bottle of Jameson she had brought for the occasion. I pulled out what was left of the gin. The four of us passed around the bottles, the glass clinks and liquid gulps spilled out into the empty night. Sonia's boyfriend and I killed what was left of the gin and the Jameson went safely back into a padded purse as a second train came fuming down the track.
We did it all over again. This time around, however, we knew what to expect. It didn't make it any less thrilling. If anything, we had more courage than before. It brought the experience full circle.
Afterwards, reeling from the gin and the excitement of witnessing trains at full bore from a foot above, I was ready to call it a night. I got back into the car, not caring when or how I got home. With Sonia at the wheel and Robin by my side, I knew I was in good hands.