— As Timothy Fuller prepares to release his debut novel “We All Dance At Once”, he takes time to pen another article for RP, recalling the ephemeral feelings of traversing borders that mark our existence.
by Timothy Fuller
AT THE UTAH STATE LINE everything is quiet. You watch the sun sink below the horizon illuminating drifting clouds colored purple-orange. The stars are also quiet, and soon the sky is painted a speckled ceiling of luminous wonder like my childhood bedroom where once there were no boundaries or borders. To walk across the line is only imaginary, it’s just a sign designating thresholds like those you pass every morning in waking and every night in dreaming. They come with age and lessons of experience. We mark them with signs like “You are now leaving Colorado” and “Welcome to Utah.” And one day we leave Utah and they say, “Welcome to Arizona.”
When you cross the state line you bid farewell to Colorado, where you once held jobs and made friends, ascended mountains and sunk down on your knees in trembling moments of desperation. The scars remain from battles behind the line, but fears are pacified from triumphs and resolve. What battles you lost have seared onto the flesh, but new victories unfold knowing where things went wrong. For me it had to do with a woman and her child. I loved them deeply, but my soul wasn’t in the right place. I felt an earth-shattering drop into regions of the abyss when it finally came crashing down, but months later my heart grew strong as I dripped blood onto the page and soared to heavenly heights discovering lost pieces of that misplaced soul.
I was walking my path as she walked hers, while her beautiful son clutched her hand and mine let go. I sailed oceans over the next two years. Seas of bewilderment and misguided affection, troublesome thoughts and fears I still seek to conquer. That state line came ages ago, but we all know these lines are just imaginary things. We think we’re now in Utah, but pieces of us are still in Colorado. We carry over the hurts and scars, but when the new sun rises we see the horizon with fresh eyes. Everything in hindsight is 20/20 they say, but what about our foresight? Vision improves from experience; wisdom granted from learning those hard lessons. But if we carry over the line with regret from failure and mistrust from lost battles, then Utah isn’t looking any better…
As I stand by the sign I feel the Earth tremble with silence. No one around, a dusty desert and endless road of tarmac tunneling off towards an uncertain future. This is only temporary because I intend to come back. For the moment I witness potential to go see the golden coast. The people on the highway and road signs posting directions and distances. Hundreds of miles in one direction and then hundreds upon the return. I imagine the sign beneath a scorching noontime sun and a midnight moon. I imagine I had crossed it one thousand times. I imagine I was a different person with each crossing, and each year in passing. I imagine that yesterday I was a babe and tomorrow I’m tottering. One day I’m walking and the next standing tall. And if my bones break in one state then in the next perhaps they heal whole.
I take a picture and watch the sun go down. A few tractor-trailers come barreling in the opposite direction towards another uncertain future. Another state, another time, another person, another self witnessing revolutions and aging and songs of desperation. One day we’re on the road and the next we’re seated in silence with reflections on the experience. And really we all know it’s just the road. We’re just crossing imaginary state lines. We’re just witnessing new sunrises and saying goodbye to sunsets. It all hurts for a while. We say our goodbyes and prepare for hellos. We shake hands and pat backs and gaze out onto the desert with lessons from past lives. And perhaps I got in the car and didn’t realize it was just an imaginary line. The sign says “Welcome to Utah”, and for the moment I say goodbye to Colorado.
About the Author
Timothy studied cultural anthropology at Rutgers College in New Brunswick, NJ and went on to work various temp jobs and bum his way around the third world. He currently lives in Barcelona, Spain, where he plans on teaching English as a second language. He has written for the magazines Melrose Heights, Tinsel Tokyo, and TCHAD, and is soon to release his debut novel WE ALL DANCE AT ONCE. Several works of poetry are under construction. He is happy, healthy, and desirous of everything at once.
Fantastic piece, Timothy. “What battles you lost have seared onto the flesh, but new victories unfold knowing where things went wrong” hits like a truck.
Pleasure meeting you tonight in Princeton, and best of luck!
-Luis, the chemistry graduate student
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