When I take my dogs for their walk, we walk down this dirt road that winds among cotton fields. They lay fallow this time of year, those fields.
The road forks right by a small stand of pecan trees. At times, I take the left fork. Other times I take the right. It all depends on which way my whims blow.
But sometimes, just sometimes I take the overgrown, rutted road that lay between them.
It's seldom used, this road is, but not completely abandoned. We walk. Up the hill.
My dogs and me.
When I get to the top, it's like I'm completely alone in the world.
Nothing but the wind. The sounds of the factories in the distance. Trucks rumbling down the highway, out of sight. I revel in this brief moment of freedom.
And I wonder what would happen if I just kept walking. Left the job I despise. Left the demands that pull me in a hundred different directions. Left my responsibilities, and just kept walking.
Just me and my dogs.
But I know I can't do that. I know. So I sigh a little, and my shoulders slump ever so slightly, and I turn back.
Back to the dirty house. The dishes that need washing. The laundry. The hungry mouths waiting to be fed.
Back to the sulky, sullen teenager I no longer know.
I trudge back down the hill. Back to my life. Back down the road lined with shattered dreams that I know now will never come true.