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The notebook fit perfectly in Mick’s pencil drawer in his cubicle. It was a standard Mead spiral, 3 Section, 9 ½ x 6. Nothing special, really, except that it was filled with ripped out magazine pages, photos and sketches of future itineraries, ports of call and voyages on all seven continents, and it was an obsession for a mind that couldn’t shut down.
He had a map of the world taped to the wall of his room, with thumbtacks and push-pins blazing a trail across the landscape of his travel dreams. A vein of red pins starting in St. Louis and following the Mississippi and Missouri on the route forged by Captains Lewis and Clark. Green pins on the go-to cities and adventures: LA and San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago, the Navajo Trail, the old Rt. 66, Memphis and Sun Studios, Upstate New York, Cooperstown and the Erie Canal, Half Dome and El Capitan and Little Big Horn. Blue pins on the big guns: London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome, Lisbon, Athens, Dublin, Stockholm. The map was well-worn and torn through in spots. But it was where he was going.
As the long Boston winter began, Mick landed a temp job keypunching customer data for Y2K mailings for John Hancock. He somehow ended up on the 52nd floor of the Hancock tower, with a window desk overlooking all of Boston Common, Back Bay and the Charles, downtown and, just before the vast expanse of the open Atlantic, the flight path at Logan. Every day while staring at his dream destinations in the notebook, Mick saw hundreds of planes taking off for those actual destinations. He would sit and stare at the planes, bright and clear in the afternoon, silver glints of reflection at sundown and navigation lights after dark, desperately wishing to be aboard, going, seeing, living. It couldn’t happen for a 24-year-old making $8 an hour doing data entry. But someday it would, somehow.
Being a temp with an uncertain future, Mick didn’t want to decorate his cube. But he had taken pictures of the map and included them in the notebook, by section. It was a perfect volume of dreams, always available for short stretches of escapism at work. And it was a talisman for what was to come. Hard work, delayed gratification, eventual fulfillment. He would stare at the pages of the notebook and the pictures of the map, and stare out the window at the actual world, actually happening, while absentmindedly holding a tack. Someday. The notebook and the view of Logan both said it: someday…