Mari chooses love and adventure

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There’s a scene in “Sidetracked” where Mari stands in front of her professor and decides she doesn’t want a life like his – a straight path into academic rigidity where money and prestige are paramount. She chooses an exciting life of adventure and love with Jack.

Below is an excerpt from the fiction version of “Sidetracked”. Mari narrates as she and Jack hitchhike west to Colorado.

I blink and look up into the sun behind that approaching truck. It passes without picking us up and I drop my thumb. I just checked with Jack on how much money we have. “A few dollars,” he says.

Most people would think that’s risky, to be going who knows where for who knows how long with just a few dollars.  But me and Jack are not most people. I’ve never had more than a few dollars for anything, all the time growing up. It was the same for him. Then my waitress work barely paid for basic living plus tuition through college. I’m used to this. I like it. It’s a feeling of power to be able to do anything, go anywhere you want, with not much. We want to go west, so we go. With our thumbs and a few dollars. When Jack needed money to take me out for dinners in the first few months we knew each other, he sold, one by one, his collection of guitars, a flute, and an electronic keyboard. He knew he was leaving town and couldn’t take them anyway. That’s freedom. Knowing what you don’t need and not caring when you have to get rid of stuff. And being able to live on next to nothing.

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