I was sitting in a parking lot the other night, waiting to pick the Man-child up from work. it was snowing, and the flakes floated gently downward under the bright lights. it reminded me of a night long ago, when I was still a Man-child.
It was November in Reno, the day before Thanksgiving, and the snow was moving in from the west. The grey sky suited my melancholy mood, since I had been kicked around pretty hard in the recent weeks. This was after losing my girlfriend Beth during a manic episode, then losing my car (and another girl) out of stupidity. I had been pretty depressed all semester, and those two events made it worse. I was also in danger of failing a class, which would have been devastating.
My adopted mom didn’t want me to be alone for Thanksgiving, so I took up her offer to come home for the weekend. Since I had no car and no money, what would have been an easy 3-hour drive turned out to be an adventure on the Greyhound bus. It is probably a good thing I wasn’t driving, with the snowstorm approaching over the mountains; it was a good night to leave the driving to the professionals.
I caught a ride from the college to the bus station downtown. I sat for about an hour, waiting to board the bus, looking around at the various people and wondering what circumstances had brought them to that place and time. I do the same thing at airports, but airports seem to be filled with noisy, happy people, eagerly bustling to their next destination. Bus stations are different: depressing, dirty, sometimes dangerous, with horrifying bathrooms, and inhabited by people who can’t afford to fly or drive themselves.
I was one of the first people on the bus, and I took a seat near the back. I looked out the window, and the snow had started to fall in large, heavy clumps, intent on burying the landscape as quickly as possible. As we rolled out of town I watched the snow under the glow of each street light, wondering how things had gone off track for me so quickly. I felt depressed, defeated, and now I was going home to lick my wounds for a few days. Even though I wanted to be independent, I still felt a little better because I was going home for food and love and my old bed.
We made it over the Sierras before Donner Pass closed, and drove on toward Sacramento. Beth had given me an old Genesis tape, so I listened to that on the way. I shared my seat with a guy from Palestine who ended up sleeping on my shoulder for most of the ride. He woke up with a jolt and seemed to be disoriented, as if someone was coming after him with a gun. Maybe that’s common in Palestine, I don’t know.
I switched buses and rode the rest of the way to Goldville in a cold, driving rain. A-mom picked me up, I had a good weekend visit, I saw a couple of high school friends, and I was able to drive my recently repaired car home on Sunday. Little did I know my experiment in independence would end soon, and I would be forced to leave Reno for good a month later.