Point A to point B: fourteen hours.

The task at hand is to get some sleep, to avoid being half-awake and worn slick when finally exiting the coach. A long-ago realized impossibility, but a good thing to strive for if only to say that you did. Even without the excitement build-up over the past month, spent looking forward to this brief 72 hours now coming toward you on the horizon, there'd be the soft conversation in Spanish behind you, translation distracting. Even without a heartbeat thrumming some subtle percentage faster in your chest, there'd be the distracting smell of chemical toilets and the eight kilos of luggage on your lap. So, since the driver has commanded the reading lights extinguished, gazing through the black non-windows and reclining in your deep non-sleep are what you get.

Here are the memories which seem to last: a stop, not to pick up or deliver people, but for the driver to carry a box marked Human Blood (This End Up) inexplicably into an all-night gas station, some variation on the theme of human cargo; a stop, at which a young Mennonite lass is delivered by her family on to a trip far away -- beneath her white bonnet she is beautiful; a stop, where three fluorescent lights flicker out of synch with one another, some blue-white-on-concrete parody of a disco. And then you get off the bus, and into waiting arms, and that memory definitely will last.

... later ...

Finally getting on the bus is anticlimactic, having gone through the saying-goodbye ritual hours ago before you knew about the delay. Its anticlimax makes it no easier though, only somewhat stranger, a minor unexpected twist in what has already been a surreal show. Now comes deep fatigue from a broken rest schedule, putting you to sleep no matter which of those people you've met who understand things (theose people worth understanding) you want present in your thoughts. Now comes a near-empty Greyhound of tired travelers on a silent road on a black night, when you'd prefer one more bright day to spend at peace. So, drifting in and out of sleep as the monster drifts between states and stations, a forcibly restful night is what you get.

Here are the dreams as best can be remembered: while looking for what must be some machine humming, the realization comes that you are snoring, and you awake with a start; the speech of the two door-to-door magazine salesmen / professional potheads behind you turns, eyes closed, into two men in ties seated at the principal's desk in the room; after an abrupt stop, a breath picks up brief moments of her scent on your body, and you realize her movement through those dreams, unclearly remembered but undoubtedly present. One thing has not been reversed here: this memory will also last.

Point B to point A: fourteen hours.

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