[dropcap]I[/dropcap] met Phillip in the parking lot. He was crawling into a 1979 Chevette. Red. My uncle had one just like it. I learned how to drive a stick in that thing.
Phillip must’ve been eighteen – he didn’t look a day over eight. A clean shaven kid, skinny as my forearm. He was traveling east, across the Gulf Coast. Mississippi to Miami. He’d been living out of that Chevette of his.
Sleeping on the beach.
“I like sleeping on the beach,” he told me. “They’ll run you off some places, but most don’t care. It’s free air conditioning.”
I asked Phillip why he was taking such a trip.
“Adventure.” He shrugged. “My parents got divorced.”
And he left it at that.
Phillip left Mississippi last month. Since then, he’s been chasing summer adventure along Highway Route 98, on a budget. His little Chevette will run all day on a thimbleful of gasoline. In the backseat was assorted, cheap fishing gear. He told me he planned on catching his dinner each night to save money. So far, it wasn’t working out. He hadn’t caught a single fish.
Youth can be a potent halucinogenic.
When Phillip tried to start his car, it wouldn’t turn over. He popped the hood. It was evident this boy knew his way around that one-point-four-liter engine. After a few clicks with a ratchet, the Chevette fired right up.
Yes. I believe old Phillip and that Chevy will be just fine.
I just hope he finds that adventure.
God knows, they get harder and harder to come by.