Driving on the highway road, days can get long. Even longer when you don’t know where you’re headed to. You go into this infinite trance and as the highway stretches the length of the country, your thoughts become endless.
My grip was tense, almost shaky. I could hardly breathe, let alone drive. It was snowing like crazy outside causing the roads to become very slippery, and above all of that, I simply didn’t know where to go. I was driving in the snow with no destination in mind. I looked at Ethan and felt terrible. I felt terrible because I’m not strong enough to take care of a five-year-old boy. I can’t even take care of myself. I started considering all the possibilities to a successful escape. I thought about stopping at a gas station, heading over to an ATM machine and withdrawing a lot of money; a decent and sufficient amount that would help us survive the upcoming month. I thought about ditching the car somewhere, then taking the train or the bus to a deserted, unknown small town where me and Ethan could stay hidden in a motel. I thought about throwing my phone away, so we wouldn’t get tracked. But then what? What happens after the first month?
Going through all this trouble was uncalled for. I knew I’d regret it. My life is spiraling out of control and adding this on top of everything I’ve been through already would’ve only made things worse. Ethan has a mother, and a father, and they’ll be looking for him. I’ll be a fugitive, and I’ll most likely end up in jail for abducting and endangering the life of a young child. I’ll end up in jail, and Matt will move on, and I’ll realize at that point that I’ve made a grave mistake. Is it really worth it?
Although Ethan and I aren’t really close, he’s different from other kids. He’s quiet, disengaged and inordinately shy and withdrawn. His facial features are, most of the time, frozen. I didn’t think much about it at first. It’s normal for a boy his age to find it difficult to adapt to new people and new circumstances. His parents are separating, and his psychotic father handed him over to me to take care of him while he dealt with custody issues. Now that Matt’s whole past was unravelled to me, I can’t help but see him in this dark light. He’s not a human being anymore. He’s a monster. He took all these people’s lives for no reason. He tortured and ruined the life of his family and everyone around him. That’s why I can’t let him raise his child alone. I can’t even imagine the horror that would come out of his parenting. He’s vile, selfish and extremely dangerous. Then again, Ethan could be a psychopathic killer in the making right now. I glanced and looked at him sitting in the seat right next to me, his bright eyes reflecting the icy snow, and I wondered what was going on in his head. I imagined the way he perceived the world and the people in it. I watched and studied his face carefully. His blinking eyes, and the way he constantly bit his lips, causing them to bleed. I thought about the horrors he’ll later see. Then I looked at his small, soft hands and envisioned them turning bigger and rougher. I envisioned them all stained with someone else’ blood. And so the solution couldn’t be more obvious. Ethan can’t live with his father. And he can’t stay with me either. I may not be a serial killer, but I’m definitely far from being a caring and mentally stable human being. What happened next confirmed that.
As the weather got worse and worse with each passing mile, I became more tense and agitated. My right foot pressed heavily on the paddle, making the car fly in speed and miss a stop sign. Of course, a cop parked right around the corner spotted me. I thought about surrendering and pulling the car over, but there was no way I could do that with Ethan in the vehicle with me. The cop was driving right behind me and I could hear the sirens. He wasn’t going to give up. Every time I made a turn and got out of the his view, he immediately showed up behind me seconds later, making my escape almost impossible. I kept driving until I reached an intersection, slated my breaks, and the car went into a spin. I looked to my left and saw the cop car coming at me. I knew it was over then; that the car would crash into us, killing us instantly. But the cop twisted the steering wheel and ended up crashing into a car in another lane. Astonished at the incident, I seized the opportunity to get away. I grabbed the steering wheel, spun the car around and drove as fast I could until I took the nearest exit off the highway.
I drove around for an hour before maneuvering the car into an abandoned forest. I killed the engine, grabbed my jacket from the backseat and threw a short glance at Ethan. He was breathing hard, and his face was pale. I felt so responsible and so guilty for what had just happened even though it was an unfortunate incident that I had no real control over. I didn’t have a choice but to get away. After making sure he was all right, I got out of the car and walked in the snow, stumbling and wandering around like a drunken man. I couldn’t help but bury my face in my hands and cry and scream, trying to let it all out. I looked up at the sky feeling so bitter and angrily screamed from the top of my lungs, my echoed voice traveling far away into the woods. Then I turned around, and in the distance I could see a sign saying:
“Welcome to Portland”