Day -1, Reno

Zephyr dog slept on my pillow next to me last night. I don’t think I got much sleep, not because I was anxious, but because I was procrastinating about going to bed. Zephyr woke up at around 6 and scratched on my bedroom door to be let out, and then Wren, our puppy, came in to say hello.

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Puttering to get the last of my electronics charged and set up, packing my backpack. Solomon made me heart pancakes with the last of my favorite pancake mix. We all went for a walk. It all felt okay until after lunch, when I was sitting on the couch with Wren on my lap. She’s going to be so big when I come back! I hug her beautiful hairy floppy body close to me and cry for the first time today. Zephyr doesn’t like crying and looks like he wants to hide but I hug him anyway.

We pick up some food at Whole Foods for the ride and then head downtown to the train station. We take pictures in the old brick station house, heavily intoxicated or drugged-out people loitering outside, and then walk across the street to the bus.

Ahh.

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I hug everyone twice, managing not to fall apart completely. They stow my pack and I take a seat near the front and I wait. I watch my family through the window. What is happening? I’m not sure they can see me, but they wave. I get out once to say goodbye to my mom again, and then the driver comes back. The door closes with a hiss and the bus lurches to a start. I sit in my seat, in a bus that smells strongly like a port-a-potty, my throat burning and tight.

This moment honestly doesn’t feel as horrible as I thought it would. The road to Sacramento is familiar, the tightness in my throat slowly eases, and I’m ear-worming “Love Will Tear Us Apart Again,” singing it under my breath the entire way. Luckily the bus is creaky and the wind against it is loud, and the bus is mostly empty.

We get to the Sacramento station. I get in the bus behind a woman who promptly leans the seat back and starts playing an incomprehensible candy-swiping game on her phone. “Sodalicious!” and “Tasty!” pop up on the screen. The bus gets to Stockton just as my train is rushing towards the platform. I have just enough time to grab my pack and run up to one of the Amtrak employees to ask if it’s my train. She says it is, so I get on and in another minute we’re off.

The next transfer is at midnight. Rouge and turquoise streak the muddy dark horizon. I’ll be going through LA in the dark, and getting an Uber to Scout and Frodo’s early in the morning. I probably won’t be able to sleep at all. Stale, cold air being blown from the air conditioners, weak light, the guy next to me watching bad monster movies on his laptop. Good thing I brought some coffee.

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