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Letter 4: The friendliest person I knew for only one day

August 10th, 2010

Dear Guy on the Bus,

The last rehab I was in was a twelve hour bus ride from the one I’d just been asked to leave.  Where I lived was right smack dab between the two of them, so it was a six hour bus ride home.  And even though both the bus ride up to the rehab I was at before that and the ride down to the last one I was in were uneventful, I was still shaking like a leaf.

On the ride up, I’d been heavily medicated.  My medication had been lowered while I was in that place, but I had my anger at the injustice of being kicked out for something I had nothing to do with to keep me from concentrating too hard on the fact that I was alone on a bus traveling from the tip-top of the state down to the bottom. 

Coming back up, all I had was fear.  Was I going to make it back to my home? What would await me there? How would I handle what I found? Would I be able to stay clean with nothing but drunks and drug addicts on all sides?

Then, the ticket cashier said they didn’t take the vouchers I had been given to get home anymore.  They couldn’t give me a ticket.  I had to go to customer relations and see if there was anything they could do.  I panicked.  I had no family, very few friends, and only a little change for the call to my friend to have her pick me up.  And I sat outside the office crying until they finally came out and told me they’d managed to find me a ticket.

The lady looked annoyed and snapped, “I told you we’d figure something out.  What’re you crying for?”

I laughed as she led me to my bus.  I don’t remember if I wiped my face or not.  How embarrassing.

When I climbed the stairs, you were sitting about three seats in behind the driver.  I was going to sit by myself.  There weren’t many riders getting on, and I am chicken shit.  I mean, what if someone doesn’t want me to sit with them? Or maybe I accidentally put on too much perfume.  Or maybe they’re allergic to my perfume!

You smiled at me, moved your stuff and asked me to sit next to you.  I giggled at your slightly too loud voice and you laughed and shut off your headphones.  And you asked me where I was going.

I said, “Home, though it’s not really.”  And we talked forever about how we should just hit the road.  Never look back.  How we’d thought about it forever.  Each telling the other why, and smiling and crying with each other.

We got to your stop and you hugged me before you got off the bus.  Neither of us had a phone, and you said you had to go.  I couldn’t stay, either, so I told you if you were ever in my town to stop at one of the bars I was always at.  You said the same, but I didn’t write it down.

And I had our conversation to turn over and over in my head while I waited for my friend to show up two hours late.  And I didn’t worry for a moment.

I don’t even remember your name.  But thanks, man.


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