(sorry it took so long to start updating this!)
Anyone who’s traveled much will tell you that sometimes complete strangers are bound together by temporarie comraderie as they venture down the same path side by side. True, other times they remain completly aloof, silent and seperate, but even then they are bound together by the form of their travel.
I started thinking about all of this when I first got on the bus leaving E-burg. It was a VERY full bus and I ended up sharing a set of seats with a young man who kindly rearranged all his stuff so I’d have a place to sit. Considering my other option was an overweight man with his cigarette still dangling from his fingertips – I was pretty grateful!
Sitting there, with the pillow squished between my head and the window, I couldn’t help but think how strange it is that circumstances placed me hip to hip with a total stranger. Had I been a giddy high school girl, and he my crush, I would have been estatic! But I’m not. I’m a grown woman who instead sat there missing my husband. I know. Sappy eh?
My seat-mate and I were sitting across from this guy named Charlie. Charlie was one of those guys who just had a need to spill his guts. He’d been through a lot of hell recently, and he needed someone to share with. That became us.
Charlie had lived a hard life. 18 years ago his wife left him and took the kids and he wasn’t able to find them for a very long time. About 3 years ago one of his buddies found them and he tried contacting his ex-wife to get permission to see his kids. She’s been rather psycho towards him in the past, even getting him thrown in jail on trumped up charges, so while he desperately wanted to see he his kids, he was also afraid of going down there if it was going to cause a world of trouble. In the end, even though it broke his heart, he stayed away.
Fast forward to the present. About a week he got a call from the buddy who’d originally tracked his family down. His friend was frantic, telling him he needed to get up Montana (where his family was) as fast as possible. Tragedy had struck. Apparently Charlies son had a bad problem with Meth. One day, crazy out his mind on drugs, Charlies son shot Charlie’s ex-wife, his youngest daughter, and tried to shoot the older daughter as well. The older daughter survived, the ex-wife and younger daughter did not. It was a devestating experience for Charlie. He’s finally getting to reconnect with his children, now that one is dead, and one is going to jail. I didn’t blame him for needing to talk.
You know, you’d think with all the crazy stuff I’ve been through in my life I wouldn’t be surprised or schocked when I encounter people who have stories like this. Yet, I found myself sitting there going, “This is like a story you’d read in a book or watch in a movie!” It was so tragic and sad that it was hard to convince myself it was real. Yet, at the same time, I could see the pain in his eyes and I knew, I knew that he wasn’t pulling a fast one on us.
Charlie got off in Seattle – and with transfering busses I ended up with a new seat mate. She was this hippy chick that was easy going, nice, and liked to swear. I can filter that out though! So I did 🙂 I had fun sitting with her until she got off in Tacoma. I had my own seat for awhile, and then I ended up sharing with this teenager who was wearing a ton of that brightly colored plastic jewelry.
All in all I was pretty fortunate in my trip. Nothing really went wrong and I sat next to nice people. What else could I ask for?
Oh yes – and one photo from this portion of the trip 🙂 This guy was just chilling taking a break. The gals around me and I were giggling at his hard hat while sitting amongst all that squishy stuff. He waved to us! Oh – and this is the Seattle Greyhound Station.