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Lost Spirits

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There's no timeline for Hannah. Knowing her, she's forgotten it's even 1972. A cross-country trip that could have easily taken a week or two to complete has her on the road bouncing from place to place for a few months now. She rarely thinks about the man she shot and killed back home, and when he does cross her mind, there's no inkling of remorse. She'd tell you the gentleman had it coming, and he should have kept his hands off the boy. Little Ricky does, however, appear in her thoughts, and Hannah wonders if she truly set him free. The recollections force the talkative red-headed wanderer to ponder her own sense of freedom.

Hannah would stop off at every exit if she could because she's constantly afraid she'll miss out on some unusual sight or a good story from a local. Of course, her idea of a good story is listening for a few seconds and then taking over the conversation for several minutes outside of a laundromat or greasy spoon. Sometimes she'll find temporary work in a small town long enough to acquire enough cash to move on to the next and eventually make it to the West Coast. About the time she makes a couple of friends who don't mind her taking over the discussion, she packs up what few clothes she owns and disappears.

One boy asked Hannah to marry him after about three days a few hundred miles back east. It's not her fault men get lost in those deep aqua eyes and decide that popping the question is reasonable. She politely told the young man she's only interested in older gents but neglected to mention she'd turned down a guy ten years her senior several weeks before. She left him thinking younger bucks were more her speed. Hannah knows exactly what she's after, and it has nothing to do with male hormones leading a charge down the aisle anytime soon. When the time is right, she figures that her ideal mate will take time to peel back her layers, and she doesn't mean clothing.

Hannah has her share of demons hopping around inside of her skull. She tells everyone she left home to pursue her dreams, but the reality is she simply decided to run. Folks do it every day, and it never takes long to figure out that fleeing yourself is next to impossible. Old thoughts and lingering poison flowing in and out of the heart rarely dissipate until they're faced head-on. Hannah takes pride in labeling herself a problem solver, and she's assisted more than one lost soul in her lifetime. But a reflection is quick to remind Hannah her greatest asset is also her most significant obstacle. Helping herself isn't part of her agenda for now, and hopefully, that epiphany won't strike her too late.

For now, Hannah is happy listening to her John Denver eight-track over and over as she coasts down the interstate scoping out each exit, wondering if the stop holds her next adventure. She finds peace in providing long-winded answers to any stranger who'll hear her words. The solutions to her own questions drift further away with each passing second her foot presses the accelerator. If Hannah knew what to ask herself, she would have stayed home where she was supposed to be. Instead, she's caught somewhere on a long road chasing invisible goals that'll lead her to a familiar place a little too late. Then again, sometimes opportunity has a way of offering up a second chance to lost spirits like Hannah. Maybe she'll have a long conversation with the mirror before it's too late to go home.

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