Jack kerouac — on the road

I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up. I had just gotten over a serious illness that I
won’t bother to talk about, except that it had something to do with the miserably weary split-up and
my feeling that everything was dead. With the coming of Dean Moriarty began the part of my life you
could call my life on the road. Before that I’d often dreamed of going West to see the country,
always vaguely planning and never taking off. Dean is the perfect guy for the road because he
actually was born on the road, when his parents were passing through Salt Lake City in 1926, in a
jalopy, on their way to Los Angeles. First reports of him came to me through Chad King, who’d
shown me a few letters from him written in a New Mexico reform school. I was tremendously
interested in the letters because they so naively and sweetly asked Chad to teach him all about
Nietzsche and all the wonderful intellectual things that Chad knew. At one point Carlo and I talked
about the letters and wondered if we would ever meet the strange Dean Moriarty. This is all far
back, when Dean was not the way he is today, when he was a young jailkid shrouded in mystery.
Then news came that Dean was out of reform school and was coming to New York for the first
time; also there was talk that he had just married a girl called Marylou.
One day I was hanging around the campus and Chad and Tim Gray told me Dean was staying in
a cold-water pad in East Harlem, the Spanish Harlem. Dean had arrived the night before, the first
time in New York, with his beautiful little sharp chick Marylou; they got off the Greyhound bus at
50th Street and cut around the corner looking for a place to eat and went right in Hector’s, and since
then Hector’s cafeteria has always been a big symbol of New York for Dean. They spent money on
beautiful big glazed cakes and creampuffs.
All this time Dean was telling Marylou things like this: «Now, darling, here we are in New York
and although I haven’t quite told you everything that I was thinking about when we crossed Missouri
and especially at the point when we passed the Booneville reformatory which reminded me of my jail
problem, it is absolutely necessary now to postpone all those leftover things concerning our personal
lovethings and at once begin thinking of specific worklife plans . . .» and so on in the way that he had
in those early days.
I went to the cold-water flat with the boys, and Dean came to the door in his shorts. Marylou was
jumping off the couch; Dean had dispatched the occupant of the apartment to the kitchen, probably
to make coffee, while he proceeded with his loveproblems, for to him sex was the one and only holy
and important thing in life, although he had to sweat and curse to make a living and so on. You saw
that in the way he stood bobbing his head, always looking down, nodding, like a young boxer to
instructions, to make you think he was listening to every word, throwing in a thousand «Yeses» and
«That’s rights.» My first impression of Dean was of a young Gene Autry — trim, thin-hipped, blueeyed, with a real Oklahoma accent — a sideburned hero of the snowy West. In fact he’d just been
working on a ranch, Ed Wall’s in Colorado, before marrying Marylou and coming East. Marylou
was a pretty blonde with immense ringlets of hair like a sea of golden tresses; she sat there on the
edge of the couch with her hands hanging in her lap and her smoky blue country eyes fixed in a wide