Jon Doe had been a straight-A student all of his life. He always went to class. He always did what his parents told him to do, and went where they wanted him to go. That’s why he’s been going to Duke University for two years; because that’s where his dad went, and his dad’s dad, and so on. Traditions have never been Jon’s thing though.
Throughout Jon’s life, he had always been pushed to “be all that he can be.” In Kindergarten, he was working with multiplication. In 1st grade, long division. In 2nd grade, he understood more about math than most college graduates. English, though, wasn’t his strong suit. His sister, Jane, has read every book that has been handed to her, from Math textbooks to the Harry Potter series and she’s only seven years old. “Bookworm” did not begin to describe her. She was more like a book anaconda.
Jane has enjoyed this role as being the highest honored person in her class, but Jon has been different. Throughout private school, he wanted to burst out of this confined shell that his hermit crabs of parents had handed down to him.
“I am not like my parents,” he told himself everyday after arriving at Greenville Private during his Junior year. Upon entering the building, he had a little routine; quickly untuck his shirt, unbutton of few buttons, loosen his belt, and take off his sportscoat. Unlike other private schools, this one had recently repealed their dress code, but Jon was forced to continue with traditions.
Jon’s high school experiences were treacherous to say the least, and it is quite obvious what happened. Bullies would rip off his jacket (hence why he took it off everyday) and give him swirlies in the boy’s bathroom. Even in a private school, that kind of abuse took place. What really topped it all off, though, was making fun of his name. Students, even those that he considered to be friends, told him that he was a nobody, and that his credit cards were always on their tv’s. Truth was, Jon was scared to get a bank account because he didn’t want to know how the tellers would react. “Really? That’s your name?”
On his way to class at Duke University yesterday, Jon decided that after 20 years of living, he would finally do something... Something new; something out of the ordinary; something unplanned. Finally, he would make his own decisions. First decision was to skip class. After he stepped onto the sidewalk in front of the Duke Main Building, Jon about-faced and walked back to his 2011 Shelby GT350. The car beeped as he came near and the key was recognized, unlocking the doors. Jon swung the butterfly door up, threw his bag into the passenger seat, and pressed in his ignition button on the dash. The car fired up, rumbling the ground below and sending flames from the rich gasoline through the American Thunder exhaust.
Jon threw the car’s transmission into reverse and pressed the accelerator down to the floor. The car’s 525 horsepower engine spun the tires into smoke. The white car shot out of the tight parking space. In the blink of an eye, Jon slammed the clutch down, shifted into 1st gear, and pressed down the accelerator again. The car’s rear tires switch directions as it through out it continuous cloud of smoke. High pitch squealing left the road and echoed through the Commons Area of Duke. Everyone twisted their heads towards the parking lot only to see smoke and black marks. Jon had already vacated the premises and was on his way somewhere.
“Where in the hell am I going to go?” Jon asked himself while he rolled down the window, allowing the warm Spring air into his ride. After he sped through a red light and turned onto the Interstate 85 on-ramp headed north, Jon leaned over, popped down his glove compartment, grabbed a CD, and put it into his stereo. After a few seconds, Bullet For My Valentine blared through the speakers. He leaned over again and grabbed a hidden pack of Marlboro’s and a Zippo lighter. With his elbows on the steering wheel, he flipped open his lighter and struck it to light.
Jon inhaled his first batch of nicotine, and exhaled slowly with a slight cough towards the end. Blood pumped through his veins, stocked full of relaxation. His body settled into his racing seat as he cruised down the right lane headed northbound at around 75 miles per hour. Punk music still boomed from his Alpine stereo system. Jon’s left hand headed towards the window to flick off the ashes, and back to his mouth again to inhale once more.
His senses opened up and went wild. Over the music and the wind, he could hear birds chirping and people crying from houses near the highway. He could feel the warm Carolina sun on his chest and the cool dark on around his feet. He could see the different spectral colors in our universe. Jon could taste the sweet taste of freedom. He could feel his turbocharged engine roar through the accelerator, and the car begged for more. Jon pressed down the clutch, downshifted to 4th, and slammed the gas pedal to the floor again.
Jon soared by other cars like an eagle in flight, swinging left and right through the trees. Other drivers three cars ahead of Jon were turning to see where the loud sound was coming from. Before they could pinpoint it, the Shelby GT350 blew by them. He was going so fast that in a mere fifteen minutes, he had already made a normally forty minute commute to Oxford, NC, and in another twenty minutes, crossed the state boundary into Virginia.
A red Chevy Camaro drove up next to Jon in the left lane. He shot Jon a look and revved his engine. Jon smirked, and looked down to his dash. After seeing the speedometer displaying numbers composed of three digits, Jon shook his head and slowed down to 70 mph. Just as he hit the seventy mark, he saw a Highway Patrol car setting behind a bridge. The driver had a laser gun in his right hand and a radio in his left. The Camaro didn’t see him though.
After a few more miles, Jon saw flashing lights; a police car. A predator of an officer stood beside the driver door of his prey; the red Camaro. Just as Jon was about to pass them, he hit the clutch and revved up his engine to taunt his challenger. His hand shot out his window with one finger standing up. The officer stepped back and placed his hand on his holster, ready for anything, though nothing was about to happen.
Jon just kept driving north, and laughing. He put his elbow on the window sill and his hand on the roof. The wind blew down his sleeve and gave him a cold chill, which was much like his previous feeling of freedom.
A few miles out from Petersburg, VA, Jon looked down to see his gas gauge reading near empty. Jon pulled off at the first exit he saw in Petersburg and filled up at the first gas station he saw; Flying J. After spending over $50 in gas, he made his way over to McDonald’s and grabbed some food. A few McChickens, and few McDoubles, and a large sweet tea. After a few minutes of scarfing down a quick meal, Jon walked back out to his car, got in, and made his way back onto the interstate.
“North” was his only thought as his needle headed back to 70. He made his way through Richmond, VA and onto I-95, still headed north. Jon went for miles afterwards without a thought. The road was straight, allowing him to close himself off from the world. His body held still, right foot steady on the accelerator, left foot resting on the clutch, and both hands on the bottom of the steering wheel. Wind still blew through his open window, allowing for a feeling of flying. “Tears Don’t Fall” was making it’s way from the speakers when Jon snapped back to reality.
“Where in the hell am I going?” He asked himself again for the first time in hours. Jon then passed a green location sign on the right side of the road; “Washington, D.C., 91 miles; New York, 317 miles.”
“That’s it,” he announced to himself. “That’s where I’m going; The Big Apple. Start anew in a grand city where no one knows me.”
Jon then slightly sped up over a small hill and back down the other side. He carefully maneuvered his 2011 dream car through the vehicles entering from the off-ramp near Ashland. After he reached another straight clearing, Jon grabbed his pack of tobacco freedom again and picked out another one. He readied his lighter and struck sparks to the fuel-soaked wick. Fire shot out and made contact with the end of the cigarette, giving Jon another chance to send himself to Cloud Nine and back; not for happiness, but instead, for relaxation. With each drag, he slid further and further into his seat. Never before had he felt so... In place... Perfect.
He wasn’t smoking for the feeling of a rebellion against his parents this time. Now, he just wanted to relive the first time.
Before he knew it, Jon had already driven through Washington, D.C, and nearly halfway to Baltimore, MD. The freedom of the open road seemed to make time just fly by. It was like he was having the most fun he had ever had without even knowing he was having fun. This is much like the opposite when he has only been at home and driven to school. Even with the temptation of a Shelby, he had always been a good kid. His days went by slow, which allowed him to get all of his work done. With this spontaneous trip, Jon felt no stress, and no need to work. In fact, the sun had already set over the Chesapeake Bay, and Jon missed it altogether, as well as the entire city of Baltimore.
In a blink of Jon’s eye, the clock changed from 8:30 to 10:30. Philadelphia was already in his rear view mirror. To ensure that he wasn’t speeding, Jon looked down to his speedometer again to read it as 72 mph. He blinked again and skyscrapers appeared ahead, lit by random and misplaced windows from the bottom all the way to the top. A red flashing light set atop each tower to ensure visibility from the sky.
“Wow, that was fast,” Jon said to himself as he turned down the radio and began to ease off of the gas. He turned on his right blinker and made his way onto the on-ramp to the New Jersey Turnpike across Newark Bay, then on across Upper Bay. With a quick toll booth pass, Jon crossed the state line.