Bus Ride

Bus Ride

A Story by moksha

Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of riding Greyhound....this one is for you.


By Heidi Kline 2012

Bus Ride



                It is all I can do to relieve the pain in my ankles… imagine sipping my first warm, nutty latte in days. The swelling is almost unbearable. Who designed these damn seats? Surely the guy in charge spilled his diet big gulp all over his lap, while simultaneously sending the wrong set of instructions from his cubicle’s computer to the manufacturer of all Greyhound busses. Knee? What’s a knee? Ah.. it can’t require that much space! UGH!!!!  Did I mention the self-proclaimed schizophrenic man sitting at my side? Have you heard about his fantastic turkey sandwich? I have, and I. do. Not. Want. A. bite. Thank you. Honestly? I would prefer to be left to my own little corner of psychosis. Reeling in pain and self-pity is currently my most efficient form of passing the time…passing the cars..the trees..the food…the relief.

            I haven’t peed in hours, and though there is indeed a toilet on this bus, it is the furthest thing from sanitary you can imagine. First of all, if you so much as touch the door, you most likely will have contracted a common virus, and secondly, there is only a small, untouched pile of moist wipe packets to clean with. And where the hell is it all stored?? Trust me, I managed out of my seat earlier and made my way to the broom closet. As I reached for the door, I was jolted by the loudest, wettest sneeze ever..just in time to see my fingers nearly grab the feces�"or something closely resembling such matter�"encrusted door handle. The universe is trying to tell me something, and it’s okay, I have been training a while for moments such as this. I have developed a technique I like to call the Empty Buddha. This is meditation at its finest.

            I haven’t really slept much, just drifted in and out of consciousness, blending dreams with recent memories, and trying to decipher which is which. Fort Collins seems like a distant memory, set adrift with the rest of my crazy little encounters on the road from Colorado. Life on foot is so much more layered than jetting around city-style, windows up in avoidance. In fact, this is far more than an adventure, it is a journey. The reggae band I traveled with is now far from here, belting out sweet beats, with hundreds of smiling faces dancing. Park City has been left to the remains of winter, quiet and still blanketed in thick snow.

            My stomach furiously rumbles, and I am taken back to my solemn walk down Route 101. When I left Astoria, I had a full stomach and a full night’s rest. It was drizzling steady the morning that I left. Hitchhiking wasn’t panning out so well on the coast, to no surprise, so I walked. By mid-afternoon the sun was out, gently drying the road and warming the dense forest enough to extract all the delicious aromas of pine and moss. My backpack had in it only one more out-of-date Lara bar and a handful of stale trail mix, all of which I devoured whilst perched atop a high cliff, overhanging the Pacific. Inhale deep, exhale slowly. Oh my god…what a view. You could see miles down the Oregon coast, miles of cliffs jutting out of the white surf, and the bend of the earth… it has always held a special place in my heart.

            By the time I got to Newport, it was night, and the only thing to greet me was a little 24-hour diner. I was famished, exhausted, and my legs were swelling up like Roman columns. The two guys working this desolate place were more than pleased to help a weary traveler. I was given an enormous plate of hot breakfast, eggs, blueberry hotcakes soaked in butter, bacon, everything iced in fake maple syrup. I felt like a 500 pound bed-ridden woman. Soon I passed out, head down on the table, with my legs resting on the chair opposite mine. It must have looked very strange to the handful of elderly insomniacs who stopped in. My heavy pack resting next to me, keeping watch as I surely drooled on the formica.

            What an experience! The bus just pulled into our final destination, Boise, Idaho. Under an eerie green glow of buzzing lights, and in the stillness of the pre-dawn hour, I peel myself off the dingy bus seat and shuffle out to the welcoming sidewalk of this familiar city. The valley air greats me with a wink and a smile, and I offer a tired smile back. 



© 2012 moksha

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Added on November 4, 2012
Last Updated on November 4, 2012
Tags: Heidi Kline, Heidi Green, Moksha Lives, short story, bus, travel, art, humor



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