Sixteen Things You Learn After Leaving New York by Aaron H. Aceves

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1. If you fold down the back row of seats and let her father Tetris your boxes into an impossibly efficient arrangement, your entire life in New York can fit neatly into a standard SUV.

2. It actually takes five hours to get to DC. It takes you significantly less time to realize the friend you’re staying with might be just as lonely as you are.

3. The road trip is going to delay the feeling of loss, but you can feel it following you on the highway, just one exit behind you. Once you stop for good, it’s going to hit you like a semi.

4. Google Maps is a filthy liar.

5. You miss her.

6. Driving hungover should be illegal. MAHD should exist.

7. You’ve never relied on strangers for their kindness, just their ability to distract you.

8. The curly-haired Boricua at the Ruby Slipper Cafe in New Orleans left Brooklyn three years ago. She seems happy here, and that gives you a foolish, fleeting hope.

9. Whenever you stop to get gas in a small town, you are glad you stripped off the green nail polish and the rubber rainbow bracelet, and, because you are ambiguously brown, glad you shaved your beard off completely.

10. It’s not the wild nights in Hell’s Kitchen that you miss the most. It’s drinking a glass of Chianti that the Italian man at her favorite wine store told you to get as the two of you scream at the TV during “Top Chef.”

11. You’ll never drive fast enough for the F-150s.

12. Your Chevy Equinox (or similar) is your noble steed, your most steadfast companion. His back (and front) seat driving can be infuriating (no one is going to die if you drift a bit into the shoulder, and no, there’s nothing behind you, so stop auto-braking), but you’ll learn to find the smell of his leather interior comforting.

13. A terrifyingly harsh and sudden downpour between New Orleans and Houston will test the limits of your Californian driving skills.

14. She thought the reason you never had her over was she wasn’t special enough, but the real reason was her apartment was the only place you felt whole.

15. A terrifyingly harsh and sudden welling of tears between Houston and your final destination will test the limits of your ability to deny reality.

16. New York was never your city because it was hers.



Aaron H. Aceves is the author of “Fifteen Things You Learn After Moving to New York,” the prequel to this story, published by Flash Fiction Magazine.

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2 thoughts on “Sixteen Things You Learn After Leaving New York by Aaron H. Aceves”

  1. P Partridge says:

    In its own way, a charming story. Love the “you’ll never drive fast enough for the F150s.” Many other nice touches. The open road provides wonderful solace in some ways, but, perhaps, too much time to think and pine. I am likely much older than you yet the road, the unknown, the possible, still call to me.

    Like

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