A Bus Ride to Say “I’m Alive”

I got on a bus at the corner of 33d and 7th. It was a big bus; red and black, with a white lightning bolt emblazoned on it. The message was clear: this bus was express, fast, and going places.

The driver, Miss King, was a black woman with frizzy hair and a wide smile. She was big, and as she walked down the aisle to use the bathroom before we started out, she asked people to excuse her. I guess she felt that squeezing her bulk through required an apology. It didn’t, really. She looked happy and comfortable the way she was. She shouldn’t have been apologizing to anybody. A man in his twenties wearing a red-and-black baseball cap (did he wear it to match the bus?) eyed her lasciviously when she passed by. They bantered for a bit, flirting casually.

The bus ride was long. Four hours and fifteen minutes. Not as long as a lot of the flights I’ve been on, but long enough. I slept for about forty minutes, but that’s it. Sleep and I aren’t the best of friends these days. I don’t know what happened between us. Maybe sleep was offended by me somehow? Personally, I feel hurt that sleep comes to visit so reluctantly and leaves so quickly after he arrives. Maybe we’re just playing a pride game now, neither one of us willing to apologize and make it up with the other because we each think that we’re not the ones to blame for this estrangement.

I thought that we saw Baltimore twice, but it was actually only once. The first time wasn’t really Baltimore. When we actually saw it, I was surprised because it looked exactly like I imagined it. There was a port that seemed to cover half the city with boxes and shipping-yard type stuff. The rest of the city was smoggy but beautiful.

Spring Break sounds like the name of a movie with drunk teenagers and naked blondes. Or maybe it’s a safety video about how to take care of trampolines. What spring break really is right now is a piece of family in Virginia, a road-trip, and a lot of homework.

I’m writing. I’m writing almost every day. When I don’t, I feel odd. A red Moleskine has become a new journal. It’s too conspicuous to be one, of course – it fairly screams “Open me!” – but I’m using it anyway. It’s important that I keep using pens. I never want to get to a point where I don’t love pen and paper anymore.



12 thoughts on “A Bus Ride to Say “I’m Alive”

  1. I’ve been absurdly busy, and have truly missed reading your blog! I, too, have once again caught the writing bug…this university term is almost over so I am hanging on to it until I have the time!

  2. Erin M says:

    So glad to hear about what you’ve been up to! Hurrah for new notebooks . . . but I’m sorry you’re not sleeping well these days. I hope you get some rest soon! Maybe try going for a walk in the evening (but not too close to bedtime) or eating/drinking something with calcium in it near bedtime? I think those are supposed to combat insomnia. (I hope I’m not just making that up.)


  3. coffeepearlsgrace says:

    I’ve had no time to read lately, but I’ve been playing catch-up tonight, and I’m so glad I stopped by to visit you here. I loved reading this post; such a great insight into your thoughts (at the moment) and your life (at this point). Thanks for sharing! Oh, and I’m so glad someone else shares a deep respect for paper-and-pen writing. πŸ™‚

  4. Unabridged Girl says:

    I never want to get where I don’t use a pen and paper, either. That would be a very sad day, indeed. Glad to see you back here, and that you are about! Missed you!

  5. “Or maybe it’s a safety video about how to take care of trampolines. ”

    Haha! Wow, it never ceases to amaze me how you can set up a scene, at first I was sure this was one of your amazing short stories! Have a great spring break!

  6. Lasciviously just became my new favorite word. =)
    I hope your relationship with sleep gets better soon… that’s a crucial relationship to have on good terms.

  7. Glad you are doing well, slightly. One of these days my book tour is gonna wind up near you, and my wife and I are gonna take you to dinner.

    Dr. B

  8. What a great slice-of-life piece. I was beginning to wonder if you would reveal the underlying reason for the bus trip, and you saved it for the end. I like how you started wide, with a view of the bus, and finished with a nice, warm, personal close-up of you.

    Nice to have you back :^)

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