(342) Empty Highway

I woke early that morning. Home alone because my husband worked nights, my typical routine was to have the clock radio wake me. I had on my t-shirt and sweatpants, as it was an unusually mild time for December in northeastern Ohio. I was on the floor stretching when I realized I had heard more than one John Lennon song in the time since I had gotten up. Then the radio talk finally filtered in and I caught the news — John Lennon had been murdered the night before.

At the time, I lived in a high-rise apartment building next to a shopping mall. A new highway was being built nearby and was basically finished, just waiting for the official opening. That morning I ran the paved path that paralleled the highway, the long stretch of solemn emptiness, feeling stunned at the violence and tragedy, feeling alone in the world. No one else was around. I was holding the news of John’s loss in my heart. I can still feel the damp air on my face and see the lights on the empty highway in that early morning darkness. I ran until I was out of breath.

And I don’t remember ever running there again.



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