n 1: the quality of being ceaselessly moving or active; "the restlessness of the wind"; 2: a lack of patience; irritation with anything that causes delay; 3: a feeling of agitation expressed in continual motion; "he's got the fidgets"; "waiting gave him a feeling of restlessness"; 4: inability to rest or relax or be still
Did you ever get that feeling, when you’re driving into work in the morning, where you think: I could just keep going. That you could drive past the turn off, ignore the fact that you have bills to pay, a mortgage, the lease payment on the very car you happen to be driving, all of it. You could just step on the gas, glide through the light as it turns yellow and disappear on the open road. Leave it all behind.
This feeling hits me more and more these days. The restlessness has become a palpable entity, never far away, poking and prodding, urging me to shuck off the life I’ve been living for more years than I care to count. It doesn’t fit anymore. Like a jacket that shrunk in the wash, but you still have to wear it because it’s the only one you’ve got, and the ability to purchase a new one is beyond your means at the moment. You’re saving the money to buy it, but you’re not sure how much it will cost, or where you’ll have to go to get it.
In my mind, I’ve planned it a hundred times. Sell the house at a nice profit—an easy feat given the market now compared to when I bought it. Pay off my debt; put any belongings I want to keep in storage. Pack the bare essentials in a backpack, take my laptop, and go. All the things I was so anxious to accumulate in my 20s and early 30s now nothing more than stuff.
The cushion from the house sale would float me long enough to find something else. I could pick up work on the way, here and there. I’ve always been pretty resourceful in that respect. I could go places that until now were nothing but a dream; I could walk through town in the afternoon, and see how people who aren’t stuck in cages lived. Soak up the freedom of it all and relish the idea that there was no where else I had to be, no consequences if I didn’t show.
My anchors are all gone, save for one. So long as I have Cooper, I’ll stay put. She wouldn’t travel well. Too much of a homebody and too old to change now. It wouldn’t be fair to pull the rug out from under her now when her time is dwindling down. When I picked her out of that shed in the woods ten years ago and promised to take care of her, I meant what I said. I’ll keep that promise, and when it ends, the last tie that binds will slip away. As much as I crave the freedom, freedom from her is not something I think about. The idea of a life without her fills me with a bleakness I can’t quite fathom. It’s a trade off, one thing for another. My freedom versus her comfort. When I think of it like that, it settles down the restlessness, at least for the moment.
It’ll show up again, day after day, tapping its fingers on the table…waiting, whispering in my ear. My mind spins and whirls with imaginings on what will happen when the day arrives, when the voice no longer whispers but shouts, when I drive past the turn off and just keep going.