June 20th. Sunny. The summer solstice marked both the beginning and the end of our windswept motorcycle roadtrip across the new world. We had two lifetimes worth of conversations, yet sometimes, the best conversations were the silent ones. Just the wind rumbling through our helmets into our ears, and the beauty of the land relentlessly speaking everything that had and would ever have had to be said. Eyes on the road, playing it safe, our eyes rarely met, themselves.
The wildwest pilgrimage through small towns and roads without signs, and gut feelings to navigate. Main roads simply weren’t our style, we weren’t part of the herd. Frigid rides through the nosy night, dictating our warmth with whisky. And two-wheeled dances beneath the suspicious moonlight. We didn’t stop for anything, even the thought of sleep wasn’t auspicious.
We had read about a certain beach on this looming end of the continent. The beach of unrivaled beauty in endless blue ocean, golden sands, golder than, well, gold. We flipped through countless pages of fairytales the scribed it, even found allusions to this particular beach in everything else. The beach was in our hearts. We even heard hearsay regarding the feeling of euphoria when you arrive, from the chapped mouths of old travelers and lovers, telling us this folklore as their clasped hands remembered the beach themselves.
Somewhere along the way, our hearts of adventure had gradually given up. Some days, her grip around my waist was tighter than a child’s to a stuffed friend, and some days, I didn’t even notice her there behind me. When we had finally arrived to the beach, there was no feeling of euphoria or even accomplishment. All before our eyes was an old ship dock full of old rundown warships, no golden sand or endless beauty, not even warmth. Just rusted metal and retirement. A graphitied sign to the left said, “you’re not lost,” with mocking dribbles of paint running through the “o’s.” Society had gotten here first, and riddled it with commercials and vomit. There was no beauty, there was nothing new.
We parked the tired Norton Commando as a gravestone at the end of the dock, and threw the keys into the sea in submission. When we finally turned to look at each other, we’d discovered we had become covered in wrinkly skin, old age had gripped our bodies. Her hair was ghost-white and mine had almost completely fallen off. She walked down one end of the shore, avoiding the cracks, and I walked down the other, tapping at everything with a stray branch. We would not be leaving the sea together, nor would we be returning to the one we hailed from, which we never realized, was the same beach all along. We wrote the fairytales, and ran in circles for what seemed like an eternity. Repetition stretches time in arrogance. Our hands were clasped and now we were home. Alone.
Photo: ©Bryan Travis Smith