Sometimes it feels like 81 stretches from one end of the earth to the other. It is the first part of the path forward to New York City and my future, but it also reaches back to Watertown and my first everythings, and it continues to Fort Drum and wasted second chances. Beyond that are the Thousand Islands and childhood dreams of living in Boldt Castle.
81 is Grandma and Grandpa’s house, my first car accident, and my undergraduate alma mater. It is slowly creeping up to almost twenty miles over the speed limit to get to him faster and gay clubs and green signs that hold memories instead of destinations. 81 is returning to an unfamiliar, dissonant home and turning away from family to grow and become.