Betsy Brody

Wanderlust

Betsy Brody
Wanderlust

A bout of wanderlust:

Inspired by the writings of Jack Kerouac. 


For as long as I can remember I have been plagued by this unsatisfiable desire to go. To move. To rove about. To mingle with sailors and road crews much like the sorts described by Plath and Kerouac. To spend hours of the early morning sat in bars listening to the words spilling from the mouths of beat poets and to stumble to a home that was always temporary. I shan't ever stay one place for too long, never too long or people would get to know your business much like they do in the small towns scattered across the country.

I was Sal Paradise and I had my Dean Moriarty, she went by the name of Beth and she had skin like china and rosy cheeks and brilliantly blue eyes that when you looked into them it seemed you were viewing the deepest ocean and the highest sky simultaneously. Beth was plagued with the desire to go much like I was. She was furiously passionate about the strangest of things, like the sky, which made her "feel alive," and it was her belief that "a simple sunset eases the heartache of living." Once she told me a story that aided in my understanding of her unusual obsession; Beth and her sister were laying on her sister's bed, and they were listening to The Blue Nile and she felt the compelling urge to jump off the bed and gaze out the window, it was 7:59pm and the clouds were still a crisp, pure shade of white and the sky was at its deepest blue and she muttered inwardly that "it wasn't ready yet." She was always getting fired up about the strangest of subjects and that's what I most enjoyed when keeping her in my company. Sometimes she and I talked all night about the noble pursuits that we so passionately adored; music, art, literature, films, and the noblest of all, the future. We made plans, on the bonnets of cars, laying there side by side, our arms touching at the elbows when we raised them, pointing at the stars, joining them like dots on a map; each constellation a city yet to be explored; "We'll go here, then here, maybe we'll go up north, oh and Europe, what about Europe? Imagine that!" These conversations left us feeling elated; our smiles stretching wider and wider with each ridiculous idea.

We didn't only talk about the future, we talked about memories too. I remember once she said to me 'music keeps me alive' and then asked me what my favourite memory associated with a song was; she was often asking random, specific questions. My answer was; "the time we were stumbling down from the peak of the rock on the edge of town, and everything felt like it was in slow motion, we had just finished watching the sun rise, it was spectacular, and as we ran home before the rest of the town woke up, the song Heroes by David Bowie was playing and it was freezing, it was so cold, but my god was it euphoric, it's something I'll never forget. We were heroes that morning." When I asked her that same question she responded with a story about her parents; "he was smoking and she was drinking beer and 'Come On Eileen' was playing in the distant background and they got up, and they danced, they danced like it was their first dance again." She said she hadn't seen two people that in love ever since, and maybe she never would. We couldn't know unless we went, and so we did. We finally went. We were two beat poets who knew not of rhyme or rhythm but only passion. And we were finally going, our suitcases were piled high.


Photo and story by Millie Murfit