I read a book called Red Glass (You should too) and it inspired me to write about my experiences in Mexico and the odd sort of connection I feel to it. This is the first of what I hope will be several stories.
I became aware of sound first. The constant beep beeeeeep beeeep , the dull roar of the bus engine, the rumble of its tires as it bumped along the uneven road.
Next I felt. One side of my face stuck against the firm, fuzzy bus seat. The other side of my face felt the cool, old air that had probably filtered through the bus since we left San Cristobal.
Finally I cracked my eyes open. A yellow light seeped through the slits so different from what I had fallen asleep to. A few hours ago, when I could no longer prop my eyes open, harsh white light flashed through my lids and Spanish speaking voices sounded through bus punctured by the music of the soundtrack. Then, the uneven beeping and red light from the speed device hanging from the ceiling at the front of the bus was barely noticeable beneath the overbearing stimulation of the movie.
I woke up in a totally new world. Sunrise, I thought as I blinked my eyes open. Good. I had slept several hours. That meant several hours less left ahead of me on a bus. Slowly my vision cleared and I turned my head toward the window. I could see the silhouette of my dad’s head, black as his hair against the window. Around the window’s perimeter I saw his business cards still stuck over old chewed gum – proof that I had drifted into the same world I had drifted out of. It was newer, but the same.
I stirred. My dad turned toward me slowly. “You’re awake.” He smiled. Why was he so happy when we were still so far away from our destination? I recognized the look in his eyes. It said he too had been drifting, but not through sleep. The look sparkled in his eyes at home too, though I never felt him really present at our house when the look came. At home, yes, but not that home. Instead, memories transported him to another home. A half smile sneaked onto his face, exposing crooked teeth. His usual down to earth voice dissipated, becoming light enough to float. And away he would float, dropping names of far off people and places as he went – Manuel, Tsumina, Paxcu, San Juan, San Cristobal. I hung on to every word of his tales. They both fascinated and frustrated me. I desperately hoped that in hearing his light voice and hanging on the words that his memories would transport me too. Then maybe I could see them as he saw them, but instead I remained on the couch sitting next to him, seeing only him, not his vision. To him the stories were vivid, moving, surging, living, intertwined with a complete world and timeline. To me they were black and white snapshots, fragments, scattered splinters of the past. A wall of my limited experiences separated us.