Noun. The action of leaving, typically to start a journey.
I live on a narrow road that dead ends into gravel and dirt in front of my house, requiring one to turn around and head north to find a way out. The first cross street it’s possible to reach is Amos Lane. When I first told you this fact, you said you’ve never in your life known of a street with your name. I took a photo and texted it to you to prove it was true, my snapshot also capturing the buttercream yellow balloon someone had tied to the street pole. Somewhere on Amos Lane, there was a party once, a celebration, and this was the beacon used to send people in the right direction. But the helium had nearly dissipated, leaving the latex on life support by way of the slightest wind.
Four months, six days, and nine hours later, you reply.
“I believe you now.”
I note how long it has been since I last heard from you.
“Jesus. Where has the time gone. I barely venture out of my head these days.”
I tell you, “It’s gone everywhere and nowhere. My head is a crowded place. Like an outdoor music festival.”
“Funny how lonely it can be in a crowd,” you write.
“Isn’t it though? And despite all those people surrounding you, something is still missing.”
I hit send, then study the original image again, and notice the block number in the upper corner of the sign: 4320. It’s a countdown that has skipped a step. There is no way to leave my house without passing this street, and every time I do so, I wonder, where did the one go. 4. 3. 2. 0. Who took the one away.