So as I was driving, I told myself that it was okay. Maybe something would have happened and I just wasn't prepared for that, so continuing on was just the right thing to do. And yet, I thought of a quote I found from a curiousity that I had investigated awhile ago: "Everything you ever wanted is on the other side of fear." So I knew in my heart that yes, what I did was a little bit cowardly. I mean, I was run off from my camp by a gust of wind. But it was still a big step in overcoming my fears. Fear was/is a (recently reawakened) plague in my psyche that made me visualize death and dismay, one could even say demonic forms, all in the mind, of course. It made me lose sleep, or sleep with the light on. Because when I closed my eyes in the dark, monstrous faces and images would vividly appear as if on a screen behind my eyelids. This was a problem I was struggling with for several months. Slowly but surely, I managed to be less afraid of these things. When I started my job, they had pretty much gone away. And when I would still occasionally see something terrifying, I fought away the fear.
But now the fear was coming from without, not within (but of course both are connected). It was dark at this point. The landscape which before I saw as beautiful, now induced within me an incredible amount of insecurity. I somehow understood the inhospitibility of the land; I mean, it was all desert. A human being alone could not survive there without real knowledge and preperation. And I was driving an old car which struggled to drive 50 up even slight slopes, with minimal supplies. And I just entered a 62 mile no services area. And throughout this area, cellphone service was in an out. And I was miles away from anyone. And I was driving the road alone, the friendly headlights of fellow drivers were absent. Who was I? Just a 22 year old boy, inexperienced in life, some several hundered dollars left in the bank -- numbers on a screen. Papers stuffed in a tri-fold leather bag. If my car broke down, what would I do? I know nothing about cars. I was hundreds of miles away from home and from my destination. I suppose, depending on where it broke down, I could walk until my phone had bars and call triple A or wait for someone to drive by. I was alone in that moment, but all in all, not truly alone. Yet I had never really considered survival in so raw a way. The dark desert seemed to loom over me and I was getting tired. I started to question my ability to keep the car going. It seemed like I could get sucked into the darkness at any moment. And finally I passed through the no service area and saw an exit approaching which advertised their gas, food, and lodging. I took the exit -- exit 37, lucky number--, humbled, with a new understanding of the value of four walls and a bed.
I parked my car and walked into the motel, Comfort Inn. How fitting. I needed some comforting right about now. So I walked in, mask in hand, and took my place behind this woman and her kid who were dealing with the clerk, a kindly old man with a white beard and a positive glow to him. Only the kid was wearing the mask. I started to put it on, but noticed that fact and just stuffed it into my pocket. Not wearing it wasn't going to make anyone here worried or uncomfortable. When they were done, I approached the counter and said "I just need a room for the night." He said "Yeah, sure." and looked up his openings. He asked me some questions to see if I could get a discount -- I wasn't technically eligible but he gave it to me anyway. When I told him my name -- a name I have some shame about -- he could tell and he encouraged me not to be. He said I had a good spirit about me. He was a perceptive person and basically said everything I needed to hear at that point to relax. I felt accepted. I told him I was thinking of moving to Colorado and he asked about where I was from. He suggested I move into the small city there: Richfield. He told me there was a mosque there, a college, everything I'd need. I said I'd have a look around in the morning. Finally, he gave me the room keys and I made my way to my room and got inside.
I laid down in the bed, still feeling a little bit wired, having driven about 500 miles in a day, with a new understanding of the thin line between life and death. Yet I was comfortable and I started to relax. I picked up the Gideon's Bible which tend to be in hotels and read a little bit of it. It's a curiousity, you know, one of the three major religions of the world. Besides, Muslims, which I consider myself to be at this point, regard the Bible as a holy book. It's not some heresay to read it. I found some passages which resonated and told myself I should learn more about not just Christianity, but all the religions. I should learn more about my own religion. I just need to learn, like a lot more. Anyway, I finally got myself to sleep.
And I'll continue this more later. Not only is this already long again, but I also need the time.
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