“The Map to Nowhere” Fiction. Based on a True Map to Living.

Inspired by Kandee Lewis

“The Map to Nowhere”

Fiction. Based on a True Map to Living.

by Nikki Wicz

This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

There’s a map in my hands
That has always been there.
The destinations read:

High School 

College

Career

Marriage 

Child

With little dotted lines
And arrows pointing to
Coming-of-age mistakes.

I got lost somewhere around
“First boyfriend” forest where
The trees were made of hands.
I didn’t learn how to say no
Here
Because it was scrawled into
The dirt instead of written
On paper.

I tripped into my teens,
The map tucked into my pocket
Because I craved guidance
Like a drug.

I was never bullied
In high school, but
I was laughed at by friends
Who pulled my map from my grip
To scribble as if
They didn’t have maps
Of their own.

I started to follow their lines.

My map turned into a spiderweb
Of crossed out futures
All sticking together to catch
Bugs, like that car ride that turned
Into a first kiss, and a letter
That turned into
Undergrad and my first
apartment.

It was not the act
Of reaching the checkpoints
On the map that brought me joy,
But the making of new ones.

Like “First Good Poem” pond and
“First Publication” boulevard, or
“Deciding on a Graduate Program
Because Finding a Job
Is like Fishing for Electric Eels” lane.

But I kept looking past
The next steps on the map.
Past graduation, past career,
Past the adoption
Of my fifth cat,
To that last word:

Death. 

Death. 

Death.

Which soaked in my stomach
Like mold in the back of an old fridge.

There were nights I spent
Pondering my ennui and imaging
Death was a greater adventure.

Nights I spent picturing
My languid body, sprawled
Bloodless and joyful
In the woods somewhere.
Spirit returning to its
Ethereal home.
Until
I remember
There might
Be

Nothing. 

Nothing. 

Nothing. 

Those nights have not ended;
Not entirely, but they have been
Replaced by nights pondering
My love.

A love for words
That have taught me
Of the smallest things
Like the way snails eat,
To the biggest of things like
The relativity of time.

The map in my hands
Has many destinations,
But the one place it can’t show me
Is the place in my mind where
There are things only I
Can create, things that are meant
To exist.
Treasure a map could never lead me to.

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