Here's an amazing heartbreaking story from another hitchhiker
There is a point in time when you could (successfully) just walk out on life. I was one of those people for a period of time. I think of it as the point when I finally took control of my life. My mom was an alkie and involved in other dangerous drugs and dad was too far away to do anything about it. My younger sister was taken by my foster grandparents when she was 10 after my mom hit her with her car (going 10mph) and my older sister ran away long before that so it was just she and I. I'll skip the prologue but suffice to say when I left I had a few scars from put-out cigarettes under my upper arm (easily concealed) as my only memory I couldn't forget and that the bullshit from everything suffocated me.
I took a duffel bag with 2 weeks worth of clothing, an ounce of grass, 400 USD and some things I was looking to pawn. This was a time when 400 bucks was a considerable amount of money and pawn shops weren't trying to scam you. They took pity on me and cut me a few deals, seeing the situation. While at the shop I bought an aftermarket Makarov, 2 boxes of ammunition and an under-the-shirt holster. After hitching to Flint, Michigan from Rockford, Illinois, I found myself in a position that almost scared me. I was finally completely independent. I was also completely independent in what is now the highest murder/rape rated city in the East coast, last time I checked. I was in a small diner when a sketchy guy asked if I needed any rock. Obviously he meant crack. I told him I'm not into that stuff, and he kept pushing, saying if I didn't take it I could make some real money selling it for him. I was done eating so I headed for the door. He got up and followed me outside. I didn't know where I was walking to, just away from him. He called my name about 5 feet behind me, and I kind of flipped. I was scared he might try to mug me or something, so I pulled the gun on him. It was easily concealable so he was pretty surprised when he saw it, but had a look like it wasn't the first time he was face-first to a barrel. I told him to fuck off and he tried telling me this shpiel about how he can tell when someone doesn't mean it when they point a gun. He said something like "It's not the finger that decides the trigger, it's the eyes. Your eyes... they're soft." and walked towards me. I of course did NOT want to shoot him, so I did the next best thing.
I lunged forward, put the slide right next to his head and fired. He had a black residue on his ear and was holding his head, on the ground. I got the fuck out of there.
I'm skipping a lot but over the next few days I found a one-room apartment (as in everything was in one room), got a job at a grocery store and started looking for things to do. A lot of gangs and delinquents tried to get me to run around town with them but I wanted to AVOID the police, not gain their suspicion. The grocery store owner was this big greasy italian guy with a huge beard who sounded like Gipetto on cocaine. He was always really hyped but with an old man's voice, it was disturbing. I walked home one evening to find a lone car in the back of the parking lot. I snuck around and peeked inside; who else but that fat fuck and 2 bone-thin ladies staying really still for portions of time and then passing something and then bending down. They were obviously doing lines. I also once saw him sexually harassing the butcher's daughter, who stuck around and cleaned all the tools and grinders and such. I figured he was a pretty shitty person so I started taping the back door and taking from the registers after-hours. Not a lot of security at that point in time, only collecting the cash on Fridays and putting it in the safe. I started stealing from the registers until I found out it comes out of the paychecks of those people. I pushed carts and cleaned up messes, a multi-tasking janitor of sorts so I was segregated from the employee population.
I got the combination for the safe the old-fashioned way. I waited until the bossman was on his way to his car, sneaked up behind him and smacked him over the back of the head with a piece of wood. I was going to do it with the gun but didn't want blood/hair on it or crack the handle. I took him into the bathroom and made him open the safe (dragged him to the office). I took half of the money and left an IOU as a joke.
Got the fuck out of there.
I came back to my apartment to find people going through my shit. The landlord didn't change the locks and never got the key from the previous occupants. They were crackheads or some kind of junkie looking for valuable. I shot a few times into the walls (basement room) and they left. Only thing stolen was the alarm clock that was there when I moved in. I was even more fed up with the people there, so I went to Florida. Now I had nothing. Money was expended, clothes were either lost or ripped or dirty but I still had the gun. I walked around Fort Meyers beach until I met some hippie-folk who invited me to sit with them. After explaining my personal exiling from my old home, they told me about this guy who drove a bus all across America, looking for people who reject society but not themselves. Smart people who just wanted a change. I started living with these guys in their van, doing farmwork for cash. We shared a lot. Clothes, ideas, storied, sexual partners. I tried to find out who this Van Guy was but never got anything more than "A great dude". So anyway my new life on the beach was pretty much exactly how I imagined; either sitting around, thinking of things to do or walking around finding people and things to find interest in. I never really stumbled upon anything too enamoring or exciting, except when I found a drunk in the street, taking a shit.
I told him the bathrooms were not far away, and he looked up at me with NO shame whatsoever and said "You know, sometimes you just gotta go" Pretty typical response, but I replied with "Yeah, I know exactly what you mean", and stood around for a minute. He started to say something but began coughing, so instead of leaving I crouched down next to him, to be face-to-face. He asked "You used the ground as yer toilet once?" and I told him I meant something a little different. He said if I met him at Beacon's (a small hotel) bar in a few minutes he'd buy me a drink. I agreed and met him there. It wasn't a bad place, but goddamn it reeked of booze. I had a water and waited for him to show up. He sat down a seat away from me and said he was happy I didn't split before he got there. I told him I had nothing to do for a while and we began talking. He was about six feet tall and thick as hell, a real muscle-man. He was wearing beach shorts, a torn shirt and a cowboy hat. I'll always remember that hat, most particular part about him, as he told me he's from Albany, New York. I couldn't really believe it because he had such a cool charm about him, but he was telling it straight.
He told me he came back from the military to find everyone stopped caring about him. He wasn't allowed to write letters to his wife or anyone while on tour so they thought he was dead. When he came back, they treated him the same. Nobody was happy to see him. Not his parents, his wife, his best friends, his dog. Everyone acted like he perpetrated a huge crime by joining the forces. He told me "It astounded me, just 10 years before I went in, you were considered a real American hero". I didn't ask him what he did or who he was with, that was private. I let him spill it and told him my story, which was much shorter. He said to me, "You know, when my wife told me she was steppin' out with my buddy the whole time I was away, that about dug me out of the idea of being a family man." He talked about turning points and triggers and events in life which start a whole new way of thinking. He said he took some of his savings from the paychecks he never collected and bought a big van. Then he said it got totaled, so he figured if life was going to really challenge you and wreck your shit, might as well be prepared. He bought a bus.
He said the bus embodied his idea of freedom. It was decommissioned, which meant at one time it was a tool to the people, to society. Then, after being considered obsolete or useless or redundant by that same society, it was junked. It had potential and nobody wanted to see it. And there it sat in the impound lot, waiting for someone to recognize its greatness.He said he didn't even have to fix it up when he bought it. It was whitewashed and clean as a whistle, so he filled the tank and headed on a route he procured in a time of philosophical distress. He said the map/route corresponded with his own desire to travel, and it went to all the right places. In Kentucky, he met a group who lived at a commune and wanted to break free from it. It had apparently started as a socialist collective but ended up being a distorted Communist state. They stole the most precious thing they had at the commune: Paint. They took the paint and splattered it Jackson Pollock style all over the van. Then, as everyone was leaving the commune to get water, they drove by honking, displaying their theft of liquid money.
I was amazed and inspired in several ways. He seemed like everything I wanted to be, and more. He had known paradise, trials and hardships, known love and war. And he rejected it all. He knew what he wanted and in spite of the monumental societal pressure (that is nowhere NEAR as harsh today) he took off without notice. He didn't even leave a note. He said if everyone figured he was dead, let them think it. He was curious about me, and I told him more things about myself and my thoughts than I had told any other person, in casual conversation no less. He invited me to come to a campfire on the beach with his other friends he met around the states. He promised there would be no judgments, no danger. He said I wouldn't need my gun. I hadn't even showed it or told him about it, much less leave it out in the open. I would later learn he was taught how to take everything about a person from their body language, and that I myself was speaking pretty loudly. I told the van people about how I met the Bus Guy, and they didn't believe me. They said he wouldn't be in southern Fl for at least another month. I described him perfectly but they thought I was joking. I left them when they started sharing the one thing I refused to. I was out of the van and down the road before the needles pierced their veins for the hundredth time.
By the time I got to the fire they were already expecting me, as the guy had told them about a newcomer much like himself. That flattered me, and as I was introduced to the group I said the the bus guy, "We never exchanged names", and he said "Well if you think of a good one let me know". I didn't quite understand until later, when I first tried Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD). I'm getting ahead of myself. At the fire, I heard the stories of people who instead of living in a state of constant rejection, rejected those on the whole who refused to deal with them. I heard more than one story about gays whose families shunned them, white boys with non-white girls and the other way around, foreigners coming for freedom from persecution and opportunity for success only to be rejected as a "damn job stealin immigrant".
I felt so connected with them all, as they accepted me without regard to the details. One girl, who still to this day pops into my head with certain smells or sights or sounds, named Mary told me the reason they were so open was because they knew I was like them. She also said because I was already liked by the guy, I was in. She was so gorgeous, I have no idea how to explain it. Think of the most average looking girl you know, someone who rates high enough on the scale to not be ugly but low enough to not be above average. Now think of that girl, but with a natural beauty. Not just an absence of makeup, but a beauty that was an intimate array of her mind and body in consistent and fastidious sync. What she thought, she said, and what she said, she expressed. I don't want to describe her physical features. Just think of that person I asked you to think of, and put her image in her place. Words cannot accurately describe how in tune with everything she was.
Excuse my waxing romantic. Anyway.
She was like my partner that night; I went to her for information on the people there, for advice on how to explain something or just to chat with. We got along so well, it was like we had known each other from birth. Throughout the night, I was listening or talking. When I listened, it was like I couldn't not pay attention. Everyone there was so interesting, I felt like I was in a room of historical figures. I got so caught up listening that when I talked it was a sort of whispery, shortly formed response. It was probably about 7am when the bus guy pulled me aside and asked if I was alright.I started crying. For the first time in 4 years, I teared up and explained that this was the first time I felt like I knew people who were like me. I began telling him about how all my friends had this distance with me, like I was sort-of a friend but not too much of one, and how I don't feel that pulling distance with these people.
He hugged me and I just kept talking through the tears. I hugged him back and just kept thanking him, thanking him for finding me. I told him if I didn't know people like that existed I probably would have killed myself somewhere down the road. He was a bit startled by that and told me we should talk on the bus. He meant on the roof. There was a few lawn chairs and a blanket. We sat on the blanket and looked up at the sky, watching the clouds form and scurry away in the Summer wind.He asked me about my stance on "mental exercise". I gave him a confused look and realized he meant drugs. I told him I had a list of dos and don'ts, and he respected that. He said he wanted to try something with me, and pulled out a folded up index card. Inside was a sheet of acid with a green peace logo printed on each one. I told him I didn't want to try it until I was with someone I trusted in an environment I was safe in. He gave me the tab and I took it, and he said he felt honored I would feel that way after just meeting him. I smoked a joint to loosen up, and apologized for crying on him earlier. He said "emotions are not rivers you can dam without consequences, I do not think any less of you for it".
Anyway after he said that, it really put me in a comfortable place, which helped a lot with my first trip. After smoking the joint I asked him if he's ever done acid, and he said he'd try it someday but for now just liked babysitting. I would later learn he took a tab 15 minutes before I did. We were looking at the sky when I noticed a tiny black line darting across the air. It slowly spread out into several lines that seemed to be getting bigger and more transparent. They looked like bombs falling, and as they got closer I covered my head and heard no crashing. That was when I realized the acid was kicking in. It was much more mental than physical. The movies don't portray it at all how it really was for me. I thought abstract thoughts about everything, and saw a pattern in what mostly everyone did. I looked down from the bus roof and saw everyone hurrying about their business. I felt myself inside those people, thinking their rushed thoughts and living their lived. I snapped back to reality when a bird landed on the roof.
The bird started a train of thought that had me wondering what its name would be if it had a choice. Or if it would even accept a name, given the choice. I started thinking about how we carry these things around to show difference between one person and the next when we can't see each other. Names, to me, seemed like the most annoying part of civilized life. You don't get to decide at all what your name is! I thought about what life would be like if I had a different name. Entire lifetimes elapsed in my head. Just then, I thought of something. I thought something along the lines of "I should name myself. It's up to me now." between the other millions of scattered thoughts trying to surface in my head. It took me a long time, and I thought hard about each letter, each syllable, surname and fore. At the end of the trip, I asked the bus guy what his name was. He said "Call me Ken. What's your name?"
I looked him right in the eye and the name barreled forth without any thought of embarrassment: "Cyan. Cyan Melodic."
We sat for a while, and talked about just a few things. Most of the time, I was riding on the high that was the new excitement of being truly free. I realized that I was invisible to the world, except when I wanted to be seen. It was astounding.
The others didn't bother us the entire time, apparently what I did was considered almost holy and to disturb me with Ken while tripping hard for the first time would have been a pretty shitty thing to do. When I looked over the edge to hop down, Mary was leaning against the bus, head up, arms against the side. I asked her what she was doing, and she said she was waiting for me. That was the first time I can remember getting one of those flutters in your heart that actually feels nice instead of terrifying. I told her about my time and she said she liked my name. She said she knew it was my new name by the way I said it, like I was pronouncing a new word for the first few times. We walked the beach until about noon, when we found a cove to swim to. She was a rocket through the water, somehow swimming at what looked like a casual pace but meters in front of me at any given time. She was such an enigma, I can't help but think of her so highly.
Once we got to the cove, we looked around and found a lot of life in the little spot of land and rock on the ocean. There were crabs, little birds and even a family of manatees swimming near the edge of the cove. After letting our childlike wonder take its course on the wildlife, we sat at the edge of the cove, talking about how there was so much life all around us, and how sad it was that people ignore it or see it as a burden. I told her about a stray dog I used to feed on my way to school, and how one day I saw it lying dead in the road. I talked about how I felt so angry at everyone, that nobody cared such a kind and harmless thing had its life taken away so brutally. She moved closer and held my hand. My chest was cold on the inside from the adrenaline. She started talking about how much she loved to just watch life, and how her garden she had at her home was like her perfect place. She loved to watch as throughout the year, life sprung forth from it in the form of plants or small animals living with the plants. She even let the pests stay, because they had a right to live, just as much as the plants they ate did. The adrenaline was still coursing about my body, and light-headed I rationalized that we must really be for each other and that no matter what I said or did, she found it interesting or at the least not disgusting. Then I leaned over and kissed her, on the cheek. I was so tense and anxious I nearly missed and got her nose. She looked down a little bit, closed her eyes and smiled. I felt like I was doing everything right, like life was really treating me to a good time. I didn't anticipate any negative incidents but knew when they came I'd take them with just as much integrity and acceptance as now.
The next few weeks consisted of me working for cash to buy necessities for the group (everyone else pitched in as well) but also for myself. I bonded and learned a lot from everyone there, and Ken treated me like a real person instead of what I was on paper. We decided to change scenery, so after a month or so we had all saved up our cash and bought winter clothes; we were going to Aspen, Colorado. I had always been with the bus, but never ON the bus. It was a whole new experience, and when you're taking turns at the wheel and still living as if you were right there on the beach... I don't know, it was, to me, the best possible road trip. I didn't do any acid or shrooms or anything really, mostly just smoked pot when I didn't have anything that was a superior priority at hand. I felt like I was in a family, we all knew each other so well, most of us knew stuff about each other even their parents didn't know. When we got to Aspen, it was already snowing. We decided to go to a place a little closer to sea level, as we had never had such a trouble catching our breaths while just walking up a set of stairs. I don't remember the name of the town, but it was very peaceful and quiet and everybody was very friendly but still cautious. It was a bit close to the urban areas so every now and then I met someone whom I could tell wouldn't trust me at all. It's a strange thing, being able to read people just by how they look at you when they're talking. Or how they reword sentences to give a different idea of themselves. I'm straight with everyone so it was a foreign concept.
Anyway, one day the heating unit in the bus broke so a Hispanic guy named Rito (ree-toh) who was in the group took it into town to get it fixed. One other guy whose name I forget and Mary went with. Mary needed laundry detergent and the other guy just wanted to get out of the farmhouse/hotel. It was more of a bed and breakfast made out of a VERY large house. We also worked for them, the older couple who owned the place, for room and board. They were a bit frail so even things like getting heavy boxes were helpful favors to them. we got along very well, though they tended to call us "hip folk". I think they meant "hippies" but we didn't mind at all.
I always got up early to help the older gentleman move the tables back into place (They were put up at night), so I had a lot of time to do things during the day. When Mary and Rito and the other guy left, I was already vacuuming the room I was in. I mostly helped clean but sometimes would help lift a car up that needed a spare tire and the like. The older man needed me to come into town with him to get a solvent that would get rid of the salt residue on his car. He had a very nice 1967 Chevelle SS with a blue racing stripe down the center, surrounded by black. He took me into town and I while the men talked to each other at the counter, I wandered along the aisles, just looking about. Who do I find browsing the linen and washing supply aisle other than Mary. Every time we met, it felt like the universe or fate or some power was pushing us together, trying to get us to be with one another. It was a nice feeling. I told her my position here and she said the mechanic shop was right around the corner. She already had the detergent so she helped me find the solvent the farm owner was looking for. After that I told the guy I was going to get a bite to eat. He said he'd be talking about cattle still by the time we got back. I left with a hearty laugh and Mary and I snuck into an alley and smoked a few joints. We walked to the other end of the alley, away from the store, and found a perpendicular alley running through this one.
Only at the end of the wall was not just a cluttering of trash and locked doors and actual vagabonds. A mural was painted onto the wall, a legitimate 25 foot tall 40 foot wide (estimate) mural. It was worn down, but looked like a grassy field with people sitting in a circle. The sun was high above their heads, a nearly yellow-white ball. It was so well done I almost mistook it for a printed photo seen up close. The people were holding hands, and in the bottom right hand corner were tons of peoples' names, all inside a big green peace sign. Above the whole mural was a dark blue, very well done word. It read "HARMONY" and whoever did it must have had been a calligraphy master, it looked like it was again printed on paper. I lit up another smaller joint and leaned against the wall with Mary. She held my hand again and we talked about all the details in the painting. I told her how sad it was, that such a masterpiece like this, that expressed so many positive ideas instead of what we're used to seeing, was just trapped here on this wall where nobody would see it in the next 20 years. She turned and looked at me, and said in such a tender and soft voice, "I'm... it's very cold." I nodded and before I could raise my head to the mural again she kissed me on the lips. I didn't react to it while it was happening, it caught me so off guard that I just kept my face the same, no pursing of the lips or anything. She pulled away, and when I saw that she saw my obviously shocked face, I felt pretty bad. She must have thought I was repulsed by her, but I was merely startled. I had to save the moment and not ruin her happiness, so I tilted my head and gave the best attempt at a first kiss that I could muster. As far as I can tell, it went very well. She turned away from me, then took a step backwards (toward me) and pulled my arms around her. Her face was beaming again, and it made me feel like the best person in the world, to have made her that happy.
While holding her, I noticed a purple mark on her shoulder, and on top of it a pinkish, rectangular scar. I asked what it was and she got very skiddish. I knew I had just messed up our great vibes we were sharing so I instead got her to talk about it. I told her I was curious and that if it was painful I could either be here for support or understand if she didn't want to talk about it. She said she trusted me and said that I probably noticed she wasn't one of the people at the fire in Florida who explained their story. She said she was only with the group for a little while and was just as new as me. She said she had a little brother who meant the world to her but was very sick. Her dad was an alkie and her mom was to scared to do anything, so whenever the dad wanted to take his anger out on the boy, she would step in and take the hit. Her mom was abused too, but never did anything about the son's encounters. She said he would have killed the poor kid if he ever actually got his hands on him.
She told me a pretty long story that in summation involved the kid's sickness getting so bad he needed a certain type of treatment that costs a lot of money. She was never specific but I think this might have been a form of cancer.Anyway, she forged her mother's information to get the kid insurance, which Mary paid by working during the day, and protecting the kid at night (dad worked during the day). She was saving up to get her own place for her and her brother when one day the kid got so sick he convulsed or something like that and threw up all over the carpet. She was on her way home from work when the dad was waking up from a nap. She didn't know he was home so she stopped at a friend's house first. The dad saw the puke and got so angry by the time she was home the kid was long gone. His neck was snapped and according to the police, one half of all of his ribs were broken. She tried to fight her dad (who wasn't in jail because he made it look like the kid fell down the stairs, even though he could barely walk without help) but he knocked her out cold. She was a small girl so it made sense. When she woke up she was locked in the basement. She screamed for help and her dad came downstairs with a cord from a hair drier he had heated up on the stove. He whipped her with it so hard that one lash on the shoulder made the end actually stick into her skin. She eventually broke a window and escaped. I was stunned to say the least, and I said a lot of comforting things throughout the explanation to keep her from crying or being upset. She said she never told anyone her life story and she was glad I was the first one to hear it. She didn't even tell Ken about it.When I realized that not even the most trusted man in our group knew these details about this girl I admired very much, and that she would be willing to tell me after just a month or so of knowing each other... I think that was the moment when I knew I felt actual love for another person.
I heard a voice calling Mary. It was Rito, and we walked to him. We exchanged hellos and he said they were good to go. They asked if I wanted a ride back but I said I'd help the man at the store so I told them I'd be getting a ride with him. Mary kissed me and said goodbye and "Okay, we'll meet you there!" Mary's face was really peaceful and accepting when I said that, not at all disappointed. It made me adore her so much, I was thinking about her the entire time I was in the shop. It turns out the older guy was still chatting but needed other things, so we took a good half hour comparing different products like grain feed and tractor parts and the such. He told me he thought "that girl" and I looked nice together, and I told him I agreed and appreciated the observation. He told me about how he and his wife have that kind of connection; two very different people who completely understand and accept each other because they think very similarly. He told me a few anecdotes about he and his wife and I started thinking "what if"s about Mary and I. What if we were together for a very long time? What if after we left the group, we stayed together? Many people who rode the bus kept in touch after their journey ended, so it made sense. I pondered for a while until right as I was about to fantasize Mary and I on a sailboat together.
As I was in the middle of my thought of sailing along the coast of the Carribean, I got this awful pang in my stomach. I wasn't hungry and usually didn't get an ache like this. It wasn't a stomach ache, or anything like it. It was just a pit feeling, like when you fall on a rollercoaster (like those poles that drop you and stop you at the last second). I suddenly felt very worried and nervous about the group, like maybe they had been arrested. We had run in with the law before, but they knew we were harmless and usually left us alone. Maybe someone started a fight? That didn't make sense either, people barley disagreed with one another in the group, much less us starting confrontation. Then I thought that maybe it was Ken, in trouble somehow. I asked the farmer how long til we could leave, and he said we were done already and just waiting for a box to put our stuff in.
I told him about the strange feeling in my gut, and he sped home in the Chevelle faster than I thought he would want to push the car. It wasn't considered an antique back then but we were doing nearly 80mph on country roads.
When we pulled into the driveway, I was already halfway out of the car. The bus was here, but nobody was outside. I broke through the door and nearly knocked the screen door off its hinges.
I saw one of the other girls, Sammy, walk quickly across a hallway. I ran up to her and asked what happened. She asked me how I knew and I said I just felt it. She didn't say anything for a while, but when she opened her mouth, Ken came through the door. I turned around, thinking it was the farmer but when I saw it was Ken, my eyes widened and I started asking questions really fast. Between "Is everyone okay" and "Where's Mary and Rito" his face went very solemn. I didn't know the other guy's name, so I didn't ask. I obviously was more concerned with his facial expression. He put his hand on my shoulder and walked me upstairs, to me room. I kept trying to go the opposite way, thinking all the action was outside because I saw police lights and a few people gathered around the porch. He pulled me a bit the other way and we went to the room I was in. He sat me down on the end of the bed but I was uncomfortable with that so we both sat on the floor, me against the bed, him opposite of me. He looked like he just lost a very close friend, so I kept trying to figure out who it could have been and how. The bus was here, but I didn't see Rito, Mary, that other guy or anyone really, besides Sammy. I told Ken that no matter what it was, he could tell me. I needed to know, the suspense was killing me and I needed to know that at the least Mary wasn't involved and just off somewhere, daydreaming about her and her brother as children, playing in a field or something.It's hard to go into detail now, mostly because I suppressed it for a VERY long time before even realizing it happened and partly because it's... well just let me tell you what happened.
Ken slowly tried to explain it, carefully choosing his words. I got really angry because it was obviously about Mary and he was keeping something from me. If she was hurt I NEEDED to know, just to know whether I should stop worrying or not, and why the bus was pulled up into the grass a lot more than usual. I got him to pick up the pace and turned into a real asshole doing it. It was probably the rudest I ever was to anyone, especially Ken, but I think he understood why I was so passionate. As you know, Mary left long before I did. As you also may remember, it was winter. There was snow everywhere and the main roads were shit. The country roads kept themselves clear with salt. Rito took the bus back on the main roads, and everything went fine. When they pulled in, however, they decided to stop and smoke in the bus. We all did it in there, out of respect for the older folks. After Rito and Mary and the other guy were done smoking, the other guy went inside, out the back door of the bus because it was closer and the front door often jammed. Rito asked Mary to keep the bus running while he went inside to get his bag. He needed to put antifreeze in the bus so it wouldn't overheat. Mary instead told him she would get his bag for him. As she got off the bus from the front door, she slipped on a patch of ice and hit her head on the last step of the bus. She was unconscious and lying underneath the bus. Rito was still sitting in the back where the heater was and didn't hear her slip or hit her head. He got in the driver's seat to pull the bus onto the grass. He didn't see the other guy running toward him waving until it was too late. Her head was perfectly aligned with the tire and she died nearly instantly.
I can't really say what year exactly, I didn't keep track of the time or anything. I just didn't care. I left home in probably... the early 70's, 72 at the earliest. Now I'm a certified motorcycle mechanic with a specification in BMW technologies. The how part is very long, suffice to say I went through some very wild emotional roller-coasters. Much too long to post or even write in a day, but after Mary died I left the group and got an apartment in Illinois. I never talked to any of them again and they respected me for not taking out any of my emotions on them. They occasionally came by to say hello and give me some of Mary's things but eventually I had them spread the word that I couldn't handle being around such great people without thinking of Mary. After living for many years with no friends or a life to speak of, I worked my way into the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute and graduated at the top of my class in a year and a half. I work for various dealerships and shops and try to be an artist on the side. It's an interesting life to say the least.
It's a bit more structured than the Bus with Ken, but I'm still Cyan and I'm still taking life in strides. Mary's life may be over but I didn't let the immense sadness of her death end mine. I came close to it though. That was a dark time and I was in a dark place. I got out of the pit of shit I dug myself into and got back on the horse that is life. I'm still riding and taking things as they come to me. Also, for anyone wondering, I never loved another woman after Mary died. I convinced myself nobody could match her perfection. DON'T DO THAT. I took her death very badly and I've become unable to be attracted to other women. In reality I never stopped mourning and some days I wake up and she's still fresh in my head, like I could go down the hall and say hello and still get that flutter in my chest when she's close to me.
Thank you Cyan for sharing this story. You touched a great deal of people by managing to write it all out. It must have been really rough to remember some of the details but I think it was worth it many people.