America

America

A Story by SydneyLK
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Written shortly after I arrived for my stay in NYC last year, marking a period of extreme disillusionment and suspicion of my own motives for writing.

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But again, here we go.

More and more and more and more and more… end? Never...

The Boston to 7th Ave Manhattan bus was packed. I had just managed to squeeze into a seat by the window, but it was hard, all the padding was gone, and every time we hit a bump there was a broken piece inside that clanked and banged into my back. The sky was grey and big clouds swirled over the city like big Atlantic swells as we pulled out onto the highway. Nothing had felt real the whole trip, no emotion at leaving my ol' home and starting a new life, or at least that was the intention, to start a new life. 

I fell asleep almost as soon as the bus pulled out onto the highway. I slept for a few hours, my head on my comfy, worn, leather jacket pressed against the window, my backpack between my leg and the wall, (ain’t nobody gonna steal my pack!).

I woke up past Hartford. The bus was stopped for a little bit, for an accident. We slowly drove by, around the blockade the cops had set up, the cop cars and ambulances blocking the view for all the little cars zipping around, but me, on the top floor of this whale of a double decker bus, I saw over it and saw the guy laying on the stretcher and the other guy standing by the ambulance door, the guy on the stretcher wasn’t moving, blood on his brow, eyes closed. I don’t know. I don’t anything. Don’t ask me.

I noticed myself crying. Then felt supremely silly. Just a few tears but I was crying for sure.

“What? Just ‘cause you heard Jack Freaking Kerouac had an epiphany and break down on a bus, now you have to? Just ‘cause you read a book you have to act it out? This isn’t you, now sit back and shut up.”

Then it hit me, “You’re right me, this isn’t me.”

“What are you talking about?”

“This isn’t me! That’s why I can’t feel anything! Because none of this is really me! I’m living someone else’s life, it’s not me. Being on this bus, having my guitar down below, having my backpack stuffed with more books and jazz albums than clothes, here, by my leg. This isn’t me. Sitting in the bus terminal, playing my guitar? That’s not me. Who do I think I am? Some concoction of Arlo Guthrie and Jack? No, I’m not. That’s why I can’t feel a thing, that’s why I feel detached, because I am.”

“Oh, shut up. Can’t you see? Even by saying that you’re making yourself someone else. By having this “revelation” sitting here on a bus on your way to New York, staring out at Connecticut, you’re not you.”

And he’s right, well, I’m right, I guess, he is me. What is originality? There’s no such thing. Everything I will do has been done before, by Kerouac, by Ginsberg, by Guthrie, by Dylan, by Joyce, by Hemingway, by Updike, by Vonnegut, by Baldwin, by…

All I could do was look out at the forever rolling hills, the almost green, almost budded hills of Eastern America, slugging by, old mountains, used to be as big as the Rockies, but older, now all worn out, stubby, no, the big wide rivers I’ll never know the names of that we crossed over, the all American brown, slow sloth rivers, with fifteen feet of mud at the bottom and the current so strong underneath, it’ll take you down before you even swim at all. The river I grew up near with the Indian curse on it, “Three a year will die on the river, until white men have fled its’ banks” that really did take at least three lives a year, so many rivers like this, all over the country. America is a country of rivers, sucking us down to the Gulf and spitting us out, all white and soggy. Anything more? We'll all end up there eventually. 

It’s me and all the rest of them, people, packed like so much produce in a truck, carted up and down, over and back, like peppers, pears, peaches and jars of pickles. This big, produce truck of a bus, hauled little pickle me all the way to 7th Ave, past Yonkers, past the Bronx, past Mama’s Homemade Spoonbread Restaurant that I passed the last time I came down. I was tired, but the lights started to wake me up and the promise of food soon, that did it, man. I started to forget all about my “pseudo-satori” and start focusing on where I was and what I was doing, not who I was. Let’s leave that for another time. Let’s just get dinner. 

© 2013 SydneyLK



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I can really relate. Im trying to get out of a similar situation.

Posted 4 Years Ago


I like how you presented the back and forth in your head. Arguing with yourself as we all constantly do. The story felt very real, I could connect with the feelings and it had a very genuine texture to it.

Posted 4 Years Ago


SydneyLK

4 Years Ago

Thanks Brandon, I'm glad you could connect.

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Added on January 18, 2013
Last Updated on January 18, 2013
Tags: Writing, depression, bus, NYC, travel

Author

SydneyLK
SydneyLK

Portland , ME



About
I read, I travel, I eat and am generally regarded as mad. more..

Writing
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