Last week, I went on a trip by myself, on buses and trains. I had been on this journey about six years ago, bundled up in a winter coat and falling asleep against the window, my head lolling about. I felt like a student again, stealing moments from a life I had cast off.
An exchange student from China sat next to me, and we smiled at each other often. We didn’t have the energy to carry out a prolonged conversation. I was hungry, because I hadn’t packed anything to eat, and I had assumed the bus would stop at a rest area where I would be able to get something. Maybe I’d misremembered. I was sleepy, because I hadn’t slept well the previous night. My phone wouldn’t pick up a signal, the WiFi inside the bus wouldn’t work. But none of this mattered.
I read a book, I took many naps, I looked out the window, I came to the realization that hills do roll, and I thought to myself:
I am young, I am free, I am happy, I have my words, and I may float away if you don’t hold me down.
I have everything I’d hoped for at one point, even if I do not have many other things. But I do not pause for too long to think about what I’m missing. In another time, in another place, I yearned for this very thing.