Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Thursday, 11 September 2014

The Vipassana Diaries: Bus

To get to Vipassana, I had to take a bus from Montreal to Hawkesbury. You could tell who was going to Vipassana by their sleeping bags. Two people hadn’t bought tickets ahead of time and barely got a spot. I was relieved to avoid this last minute stress. Since it was my third time applying, I still had in the back of my mind that somehow it was still going to fall through. 

The girl beside me was going. She had her luggage on her lap. We chatted a little bit, about it being our first time. About having kids or not having kids. About having dogs or cats. About having partners. Then she fell asleep.

I went to the bathroom and I saw my bum in the mirror. It was full and white, with small zits on it. Bums and hands are only bums and hands because we call them that.

Everyone on the bus had a bum and hands. When I was little, I always used to think about this.

Think of all the bums in this room, I would think.

Back from the bathroom, I texted frantically with my friend Rhetta from Montreal. Boyfriend this. Yoga that. I kept postponing when I was going to turn off my phone. Just one more text. Finally I decided I should probably save some battery for when I got out.

The Montreal bus drove us to Hawkesbury. Hawkesbury seemed like a hole of a town. The sky in Hawkesbury did not look as beautiful as skies usually look.

I looked around and wondered if anybody here would be my friend if I met them somewhere else besides Vipassana. Soon it wouldn’t matter because we wouldn’t be allowed to talk. Besides my incessant hair twirling and fawn eyes, probably I was relatively ordinary looking. I was wearing a long black joe fresh skirt, a tank top, a jean jacket and birkenstocks. But I felt like I was the weirdest person there. And I felt lonely.

With small tears in my eyes, I called the Boatman one more time to say I love you. The Boatman said, oh yes, it is a bit sad, but you will be okay.

A tiny school bus picked us up to drive us to the centre. It didn’t seem possible that all of our luggage and bodies would fit. My obnoxiously enormous black suitcase went on first. I noticed a bald middle-aged man with a cane and a limp.

This might be hard for him, I thought.

Packed onto the bus, everyone opened the windows and everyone’s hair blew frenetically. I wondered if I knew what frenetic really meant. I worried if I’d said good-bye and I love you enough times to enough people. That is probably what people worry about as they’re dying. Saying I love you before they turn off their phones.

The End.


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