novella- cont.

Bus Windows

           

The next morning I awake to the bald glow of fluorescent lights on my face. The magnetic ballasts flicker and drone like a moth song. The window still holds the dying thickness of night that unwillingly fades into the morning the way we all must fade from an age of rage into an age of reason. An image of you in your heavy double-breasted blazer, fastening the locks on your boots in clinks of metal against metal like little raindrops falling on tile.

            “Get up!” You kiss my neck and muss the covers from my body until I shiver to full consciousness. “We must leave now if we are to return in time for morning class.”

It is much too early. For a moment I consider protesting and rolling back into sleep. I yawn loudly while my mind sludges through the options. But it is too bright to fall asleep and my curiosity is getting the better of me so I sit up and stretch into long micro-fiber socks and a grey thermal. Within five minutes I am fully awake. As our austere forms walk, heads bent, toward the bus-stop, my mind sharpens itself, axe-like, on the coldness of the morning frost. A crack of the door, a red mouth and blackened irises come back to me from last night. A strange night, to be sure. I am hoping for some answers.

            “Where are we going?” I ask.

You merely smile in return and squint toward the approaching shape of the city bus. It screeches to a slowing halt. We climb on, flashing the mirror-eyed driver our passes.

 

The bus is hissing like a flat tire. Vibrating lights, backseat like horror story of two lovers

miles apart.

Lurches ahead, this great beast, and the liquors left over in my gut lurch, launching me forward

into a hollow time—

Only ten minutes passed since the empty bus is popped into a loony bin. Passengers, leather faced and old, drowsy, for their working day is beginning without desire. The sensitivity in everyone’s eyes!

A blueblack man turns to me and growls in his oilslick voice, “Hey, it’s not an easy livin’ makin’ insecticide and god knows it ain’t fun but it does keep the insects away.”

I smile wanly at him. For now my job is finding meaning in everything: milky moons and advertisement billboards, little baby wails and old pickup Fords, and I wonder how much living that’ll get me.

 

Steel cranes like praying mantises fold and unfold their sharp limbs as they build buildings. Bank buildings rise from the ground, so do investment buildings and buildings where sick people lie in metal cots, waiting to get well until they can, once again, push through the revolving doors of bank buildings and investment buildings and buildings where sick people lie in metal cots.

 

Windows like picture frames hold the strangest family portrait of strangers who drop fly-like

along.

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