Motion

So many of my thoughts come on the bus. A moving vehicle has always been an inspiring place for me. I like watching the world without being watched by it. I like knowing I am going somewhere but that someone else is taking me there; I don't have to feel responsible, I don't have to make any decisions, I don't even have to think, but I do.

I think of the people who live in the houses I pass by. During the day, people sometimes sit on the porches or hang their laundry on clotheslines or little kids play basketball in a front yard. A few houses are already dotted with Christmas lights. At night, the windows glow, people gather outside together, cigarettes dangling from their mouths, their hands expressive, alive.

I accept my distance. I do not go closer. To me, they are blurs; I see them for a moment and then the bus passes them and motion makes them unreal, far away, a memory.

Maybe these moments are the reason I reach for the small notebook tucked in my purse at all times. I try to write while the bus is moving, but the vibration of the engine makes it difficult for me to form the words; my handwriting ends up looking like black wisps and webs, an unintelligible language. Even so, I cannot turn off the thoughts or wait for the bus to stop; the words have their own flow and rhythm, they flood me, I submit to them even though, hours later, when I read them in my bedroom, their magic is gone because their context is gone, the life of the moment is gone, the sounds of the people and the engine, the scent of the grass in the air, the sun in my eyes--all of it has disappeared.

When I am writing in that notebook on the bus, I feel I am living a secret life, that as the world around me teems and expands, I am both there and somewhere else, part of it and separate from it, existing in a place beyond time. I've never felt completely real or solid. I still live mostly in my mind.  I still cannot believe that what people see--my body, my skin, my face--is not me because me is inside, me is language. I am the words, the thoughts, the memories, and if I do not write them down then people will never truly see the me that I want to show them; the me I want to make visible before I am gone.