I ate the first chocolate chip cookies at four am somewhere on the Florida Turnpike just outside of downtown Miami. Four am may seem early for cookies but considering I was already covered in motor oil and sweat, cookies seemed like a fine choice. As I took that first bite, I savored the taste of familiarity. My journey was just beginning and I had thousands of miles to go.
Mere hours before my journey started I had grabbed the cookies off the back bumper of the giant yellow Penske truck that contained my entire life, or at least all the stuff that comprised my life. I was leaving behind five-year plan certainty for a future that would eventually dump me in a foreign land. That morning, however, all I knew was what it was cookie time.
Eating the cookies as dawn broke over miles of flat road brought on a strange combination of joy and sadness. Joy at eating something made with such love and sadness at leaving such love behind. The cookies were a gesture of great kindness from my lanky ginger-haired friend and his delightfully strange wife made in the wee hours of the morning after helping me move my life of things for the second time in a year.
I wondered as I munched on my second cookie if people are allotted only a certain number of loving people in life– just enough to keep going down life’s crazy highway but not enough to but not enough to stay complacent. Then again, maybe some of us are luckier than others. Someone gets more chocolate chips but they also get a more mess and someone else gets less of both.
I finished the last cookie a few days after I had arrived at a place I had once called home smack in the middle of the United States. At that point, the cookie has mostly crumbled, both literally and figuratively. I devoured the last morsels of the life I had left behind, with no idea that my next journey would soon take me across the ocean that had so recently been in my backyard.
I have heard that some people live lives that wrap up into nice tidy resolutions about home, cookies and chucks of chocolate. There are no such conclusions here, just a story about miles of long flat highway dotted with cookies and a messy life sprinkled with love.