October 13, 2004

What Drives Your Life?

The 960 grinded to a halt on the corner of Westfall Avenue like it always did. A lone figure stood in the rain, unflinching, seemingly unaware of the rain beating down on his coat. As the bus pulled into the bay, he gave the scene behind one long, hard glance. "Hey buddy, you getting onto this bus?" No response. Seemingly caught in a dilemma, the bus driver decided to close the doors for fear of being late for his next stop. "Wait." The figure shoved his umbrella between the doors just as they were closing. Gingerly, the figure made his way up the steps before tossing a $20-note into the bus driver's lap. "Keep the change."

For Carl, this was it. He was sure this was where he wanted to go. Far, far away where the sorrow and disappointment would never catch up with him. The bus down south and he'd get off at the last stop, far away from the people he ever knew, far away from the people who had betrayed him. He made his way unsteadily to the back of the bus before slamming his bag into the seat, momentarily caught by the change in momentum of the bus. Propping his head against the window and looking out dreamily, he prepared for the long trip ahead.

Flashes of his life began to manifest themselves in his head. The troubled childhood, the rebellion and subsequent hatred of his father, the shotgun marriage he had been forced into, the backstabbing colleague who ended up sleeping with his wife, it all hit him like a ton of bricks. Breaking down was not a solution and yet, it was the only thing he could do. He needed to find solace, respite, somehow, somewhere. He needed closure.

The next few hours were spent aimlessly, Carl looked out the window without focus and drive, as if in a catatonic state. "Last stop! Bloomingdale Avenue!" Bloomingdale Avenue? This was... No. He'd taken the bus down south, how did it end up... "You wanted closure, right? Well, this is your chance Carl. Close those wounds, make everything alright again. Starting from here, the beginning of your life." A man in a dark trenchcoat slouched in the seat in front of him turned around and spoke to him. "How did you know my name?" Carl was shocked. "Let's just say, we heard your silent prayer in the back of the bus and we decided to give you a helping hand. Oh, by the way, my name's Gabriel," said the man as he stood up to get off the bus.

"Peaceful, isn't it? Now go on. Gain closure," urged Gabriel. Carl gingerly stepped towards the grassy lawn which he had spent a huge part of his childhood on. This house. This place. It felt so good at one time, now it was all gone. Or was it? A silent tap on the door brought an elderly lady to the door and yet, the beautiful hazel eyes were unmistakeable. Mom. A stranger to him for the past 20 years and yet so familiar to him at that point. "I love you Mom," managed Carl before he broke down. "Jean, who is that? We..." John stopped short in his sentence, not quite believing what his eyes were seeing. "Dad, even though we haven't been on the best of terms, I want to change all that. Will you let me?" John stepped cautiously towards his son before breaking down in tears. They were back once more. Back in 1987 where things were rosy and beautiful.

Carl turned to thank his mysterious friend for the friendly nudge on the bus, but all he saw in place of Gabriel was a Bible on the floor. It hit him. He needed closure, and God had given it to him.

And don't it make you sad to know
That life is more than who we are?
You can hide beside me, maybe for awhile.
And I won't tell no one your name.
I won't tell 'em your name.

Traveller fell apart at 11:23 AM

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