The musty scent and slurred words of a dirty drunk headed for GainesvilleFlorida kicked off my personally devastating Fall break. The Schreiner exclusive extended break was “just what I needed,” or so I believed. It actually ended being the most destructive break I have ever taken. The 345 mile away destination was not an easy task, considering I had not owned a car. My complexly complicated journey was a painful compilation of horrifically normal obstacles.
Since I did not own a car, my parents were, I assumed, supposed to drive and get me. I was wrong: dead wrong. My mother suggested that I should use the Greyhound busing system. Immediately I thought “No way!” But after thinking about how desolate Schreiner would be for at least four days, I quickly became comfortable with the idea. Even though I visualized the bus system, seeing as I had never used it prior to now, as a disgustingly filthy transport- “cheaper than a train” septic pool for poor people, I decided to take the trip. So, my mother paid for the ticket at the Greyhound station in my destination of Beaumont, and I was free to board the bus at the given time.
Contemplating how I would get home became so difficult that I constructed a mental list of checkpoints that needed to be crossed out before my trip would be a successful one. Obviously the acquisition of the Greyhound ticket was the first. Consequently, I had to find or rather beg for a ride to the station from the university.
After I basically sold my soul to my friend Alejandra, I realized begging her was pointless. So I opted for the next best choice- Danielle. She was very nice and modest about her kindness and I had officially acquired a ride to the Greyhound station.
According to the bus station clerk in Kerrville my departure was to be at 10:15 pm. So, I waited at the station with Danielle at that time beneath the cover of night. Thirty minutes after the bus was suppose to arrive a bus finally showed up. I got out of her silver neon, and she drove away. I skipped happily to the bus where the bus driver informed me that his bus was not my bus. My heart turned blue and my head began to thump. Once the bus drove away, carrying its passengers in the warm cabin of a safe, comfortable bus, the world seemed colder and the night wrapped around me as I sat on a wooden bench in obeisance to the silence.
The peacefully frightening silence lasted for only so long. Like a deathly figure moving with the shadows of dying trees, a man approached the bench clumsily upon which I sat. His hair was a dirty blonde, his skin ruined with motor oil. He called himself Gus. He had quit his job in San Antonio, and rambled on and on about how he would have killed his boss if had not left. He stared me square in the eyes, seeing all my life, and young innocence reflecting his darkness, his turmoil. He wore brown boots. The worn boots that corked the dirt that would surely fall from the bottom of his pants had a story behind them that he was all too prepared to share. His boss tried to take them. And said to him,” If you quit, I’m takin’ my boots.” And Gus said to me “I’m still wearin’ this damn boots.” He actually kind of scared me, especially when he whipped out a photograph of a quasi-swamp monster that he called a wife. He was so proud, pointing to
her face, “This here is what I’m going home to.” And as he walked away, I felt a bit of compassion for a man on the road. He reminded me of myself, I was just trying to get home. After all, he was just trying to get back to Gainesville.
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