He’d come from a place where the roads were named #46 and #124 and they went north and south and southwest and through dales and farms hilly but rolling, not too rocky; and now, looking up to the tops of the clear-cut highways of Kentucky, sheer rock walls of fifty feet, dripping with quick cold small waterfalls on dreary days—what road number was this? A man must walk down so many roads before you call him a man. They can be counted; are counted by the obsessed. What number was this road, this highway carrying him into a life of science and investigation? The sun slamming white on the windshield seems as unyielding as it had in Georgia and Tennessee, just as white and bright and blinding on this clear July weekend, and yet, as usual, the world quickly changes around him; the pace so obviously rapid. Nothing at the arrival would resemble the departure, regardless of the smell of country air. Still, the smell of the air rushing in through the open window smells just the same. Just the same as always. And the color of a summer sky, perfect day, never changes.

Of course, the road has an actual number, but this is not what he wonders. He saw a map of the United States, the world, in his mind. Like any particle of gas in a chamber, his path could be tracked and shown to be different from any other. There is a line that traces the northern hemisphere illustrating his striations and bounces and chaos. Surely no other human path could match it; snowflake indeed. He is unique and as the movement and dynamics of everyone he remembers washes over his mind and he sees the mess of it all, he realizes too that he is unique and meaningless somehow at the same time.

It does not bother him, this meaninglessness. It was never made real for him, not the vacuum wind of air being sucked out of the cabin of the truck where through the just-rolled down window he flicks his cigarette. No, the air is not the ghost. The air, for all its flora scent and beneficence, lets him go, but the ghost follows him, riding in the car in the empty passenger seat. He knows it and knows it well and though sometimes it seems cold, more often he bathes himself in the warmth and comfort of the anonymity of the ghost missing. He knows well the insecurity of standing in front of people and talking and seeing in their faces their disapproval. He much preferred the knowing that if unidentified to anyone, he was never someone to be taken notice of.