We had to get outta that bus station. Max already went back to New York the night before, unfortunately, since he had finals that week and the prospect of getting from MN by monday seemed bleak at best. At around 8am, Greyhound announced that nothing was going west for at least another day, so it proved to be a wise choice.
While Jae and I surprisingly slept a full seven hours, John hadn’t slept a wink all night. Jae spent the next two or three hours yelling at his girl, trying to convince her that, yes, he was actually stuck and he wasn’t lying. In the meantime, I looked to James Joyce for company. Eventually, John woke up and I reiterated our need to get the hell outta dodge. I heard from some folks that the promise land is yonder across the bridge a little ways from the station. So, we were off.
While we walked down East Carson/Southside, we noticed the plethora of bars littered across this drunken boulevard of a has-been town. I stopped at a Lebanese restaurant for some hummus and some warmth. I initiated conversation with our waitress, Cori, who I told about our adventure thus far and our plans with the bus. She then very readily assured us that she could find us a place to spend the night. Meanwhile, we went to this cafe down the way, called the bee hive, where we subsequently spent the next 6-7 hours sheltering ourselves from the rain and cold. Cori did eventually call us, but plans unfortunately didn’t pull through, so we decided to get drunk. Jae bought us a bottle of rum and we spent the next few hours sipping out of hour Arizona ice tea cans at the good ol’ bee hive, watching YouTube videos of Julie Andrews singing Supercalafragilisticexpealadotious. What a night. In the height of our inebriation, we decided to splurge on a room between the three of us at the holiday inn. Good decision. After a continental breakfast the next morning, we were on our way back to the station.
That morning we finally left for cleveland. It was incredible. The sun was shining, the storm fully subsided, things were looking good. We met a lot of really cool cats on that bus. The dude behind me was a Sierra-Leonian man with pharonic glasses and a thick accent. The guy next to me was a soft-spoken Liberian who spoke softly to the beautiful girl sitting next to him all the way to cleveland. We found out he was just getting back from spring break and was on his way back to Toledo University. Jae had a really close call midway. After we started moving from a pit-stop, John noticed that Jae was missing from his seat in front of us and we all yelled at the bus driver to stop. Apparently, he went off for a cigarette and overheard me saying how thirsty I was, so he ran to a nearby gas-station to pick up a bottle of water for me. You can’t even imagine how guilty I would have felt.
At Cleveland station, we met up with this army dude who jumped into our conversation we were having about bad food. He assured us that it didn’t get any worse than army rations. He then continued to describe how he was back from Iraq and how he got shot in the neck and seriously screwed up his foot and wrist in combat. Immediately after, he showed us videos on his cellphone of his two children he has back home, along with his beautiful wife, who’s pregnant with a third. This dude was 20 years old. After he told us that he had six more years of service, I told him, “listen man, fuck the army. take your wife and kids and open up a bar in Puerto Rico and never come back. You have too much to lose.” He immediately picked up his phone and called his wife and she readily agreed to it. I really hope I saved his life. Goddamn this war.