By Parson Thru
0345. The latest of the refuse trucks is whining, clattering and bumping outside the window. The procession began about 1215. Some nights I don't really notice it. Maybe the empanadas I ate in the park around dusk have made me restless and heightened my sensitivity. At least the voices in the plaza have gone home or on to another party.
I need to be on a bus to Astorga by 1030. I don't feel excited, but maybe there's a buzz of anticipation in there somewhere. My guts are gurgling loud enough to wake the people in the adjacent rooms. I went to the toilet an hour ago hoping that would settle things, but it didn't work. I read some more Kerouac when I lay back on the bed. That often works - relaxes my mind and leads into sleep, but not this time.
If anything, it's got me ticking. Life, responsibilities, filling time. He and Cassady are in New York together. Over-wintering like waterfowl. Part four. Jack's about to leave and I read of their parting by a Long Island rail yard. Heavy stuff for this time in the morning but somehow appropriate.
They mean more in the dead of night. This is the low-point, a time when the dying are apt to breath their last. A time when thoughts briefly crystallise. A four hour bus-ride and ten days of walking through the northern hills of Spain. Twenty years or more of this particular route and a whole other life before that.
I spoke with my mother on the phone last evening. She gets the me that's doing this. The now me. Finally. I barely recall the person before. I just know he was a cripple, lacking self-esteem, confidence and any sense of an option, that life can be what you make it.
I don’t know where I'm bound, any more than Jack did, or Neal.
And don't get me wrong, this isn't some Beat-groupie epiphany.
After twenty-odd years of torment, seeing, feeling and learning, I know, at least, that there is a road.