Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

The 7:40 to the Basin
There’s nothing like hanging out at a Greyhound bus terminal in the early morning hours to motivate me to finish a book and publish it. The sidewalk outside the front of the station is lined with people smoking, many of whom appear to be homeless and/or high, looking to bum a smoke or, if desperate enough, steal butts out of the ashtray. One young man in particular, dressed in baggy pants that are at least six inches too long for him, with torn and frayed bottoms and silver chains hanging down his waist, topped with a thin, bare chest covered with a suit jacket, is wandering from person to person looking for a cigarette or what he keeps referring to as an industrial sized cooler. He’s in another world, and although i’m a naturally curious and compassionate person, I have no desire to know which world he’s living in. A blind woman is making her way down the wide hallway as I head toward the bathroom, making my way past an old woman pushing a wheel chair full of blankets and what appears to be her entire life’s belongings. I don’t want to end up like that. I won’t end up like that, I tell myself. I’m not mentally ill, I have options, I am going to write my books and become wildly successful. Travelers are asleep on the floor, their heads resting on their luggage. Presumably they’re travelers, they could just be society’s downtrodden, having found a warm place to lay their head for the night.

I go into the restroom, more to get away from the people outside than to really use the services. As I line up at the counter to check my make up and reorganize my carry on bag so I can get to my book easily, I stand next to a middle aged woman with dark hair and tattoos on her arm. She’s wearing a T-shirt and shorts, not a really appropriate outfit for the time of year and the time of day. She’s putting make up on and fussing with her hair, and I assume she’s been traveling for a long time and trying to feel human again. “Nothing like freshening up in a bus station bathroom,” I say, making conversation. She’s silent for a moment as she stares at me in the mirror, and I immediately get the feeling that she’s not a morning person. “Yeah, well I just got out of prison,” she says, then mumbles something incoherently. Taken aback, I make a stupid comment like “well, I guess this is better than that then,” and hurriedly leave the bathroom.

After finding a seat in the crowded waiting room, I sit down and observe the others around me. There’s a young couple with a small baby, about six months old. I wonder if they’re traveling home to visit family. There’s an old man with a guitar sitting on the seat next to him, he’s wearing what looks to be snakeskin boots and a U of U sweatshirt, probably he’s going to visit his chidren. Then I notice the woman sitting next to me. I had seen her in the bathroom earlier as well, and noticed the tattoo on her lower back as she was headed into the stall and proceeded to pull her pants down before she got all the way in, flashing me her tattoo and a very unattractive butt crack. She’s wearing what appears to be dark blue hospital scrubs and white tennis shoes as she sits down next to me. She’s holding a manila envelope, which I assume is some kind of medical report based on her haggard look and clothing. I was wrong. As she sets the envelope on her lap it is labeled with a white paper that clearly states INMATE, and lists a number, date of release and notes stating she has no warrants.

I usually prefer to sit at the back of the bus. But today, I think I’ll take the seat in the front right behind the driver. And then I’m going to write the entire way, in an effort to avoid becoming like any of these people.

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October 16, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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