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“Welcome to this strange new world,” the sign said. Up ahead there were were salamanders laid out red on green moss-covered rocks, the same sun blistering my lips was soothing their skin. “Welcome to this strange new world,” I repeated, the sound coming off of my lips like the refrain of some old song I couldn’t quite locate. I was thirsty without glass or bottle. By all accounts I knew what lay up ahead. The same old language that there ever was. I wanted to drink something strong and permanent and fix the last drops on my temples to say to the world that was greeting me that I had lived between here and here. Never did I give up hope in the good things in life. I might not have been practical but what use was that when everyone around me was proving that that the same pragmatism would reveal my superficial love. Sometimes the oxygen wore thin at an elevation. This was as low as I would be in a while. I paced the few meters I had remaining on my GPS just to get where I programmatically wanted to go and it wasn’t there. Nothing had been there. The town was gone. The world was gone. It was strange, the way I felt. It was strange.

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