* TRIGGER ALERT: This story contains abuse material that could be difficult for you *
"Re-examine all that you have been told... dismiss that which insults your soul." Walt Whitman (1919-1892)
~ THE BUS STOP ~
© Frank Westcott, 2020. All rights reserved.
The man thought he had lost his destiny.
Missed his bus.
The woman he loved was gone. For another man. Took the bus stop seriously. Never returned.
He knew, too, his mother had taken the bus. His father, he wasn’t sure about.
The man wanted her to come back. Her and her. His mother. And his girlfriend.
He wondered if girlfriends were really women trying to be mothers. Or fathers. Or both. And not girlfriends at all. None of them were coming back.
He had lost the little boy in him when he was young. He hoped it. Him. This little boy. Was still inside. Somewhere. And had not been lost with his destiny.
And this man wondered if it. Destiny. Missed you. If you missed your bus. You lost yourself forever. And it never came back. To the boy. The child. To the man.
The man wondered these things as he walked to the cab that would take him to the bus stop. His bus stop. Again. One more time.
You Are My Destiny came on the radio.
“Who?” he wanted to say. But didn’t. Only thought it.
But he listened. With his heart. All of himself. Even the him he had lost.
The man looked at the cab driver.
“Where are we?” the cab driver said, making a statement of a question, yet begging an answer to what he wanted to know, too.
“Nowhere,” the man said. And he wondered if he was a musician. A writer. A hearer of sounds. Music. Words. Words on a page. Manifesting in a story. He wondered if he had heard the song right. On the radio.
Were the angels speaking to him, again?
Was that how this was going to be?
Words over the radio talking to him. From angels.
You Are My Destiny stopped playing. The radio went silent.
“Where are we, again?” he asked the driver.
“Santa Fe?” the driver said, as a question, but making a statement and not asking a question, really.
“Santa Fe is home to me in my dreams,” the man’s girlfriend had said to him once.
The man felt and knew an angel was there. Nearby. Talking to him. In the way angels do.
“Are you a cab driver?” he felt and heard an angel say and ask. Both at the same time. From some place he did not understand. But knew.
“No,” the man said. “I was just wondering out loud where we are? Where I am going? “Look,” he said. “There’s a raven on the post behind the bus stop. I can see it through the glass. Of the cab. And the glass. Of the bus stop. Clear. As a bell.” He wished he had seen his destiny, instead. What good was a raven? On a post? He wanted the destiny lost.
The one he had lost.The one taken away.
He did not want a raven. On a post. At the stop. Where he was taking a bus.
His bus. Finally.
“You are your destiny,” he heard the Angel say, in that way of hers, sounding like a song on the radio.
“What?” the man said.
“Asking my questions for me?” the Angel said, still sounding like she was on the radio.
“Yes,” the man said.
“It’s just the way of these things,” the Angel said. “You get a raven, you get a raven. Don’t knock it. You got a post, too.”
The man thought he had started singing. But he couldn’t hear. Himself.
But the Angel could.
“That sounds Biblical, your singing,” the Angel said, looking more like a cab driver, than an angel. Even though she never looked much like an angel. When she came. Usually looked like something else. Other things. A flower pot. Checkers. A checkerboard. A card table.
And in his singing the Angel heard the man remembering his father. And how his father had raped him. And how he lost himself. That day. And those after. His destiny. His father tried. To make it Biblical. The raping, saying, “Fathers have to sacrifice their sons. Like Samuel at the burning bush.”
The boy, the man now, knew his destiny was interrupted. Then. Taken away. Completely.
His father did what he said. Always. And sacrificed him. Religiously. Whenever his mother went to her church meetings. She took the bus.
The man looked at the Angel in the cab. He thought how she looked a lot like the Angel standing beside his bed when he was a boy. And his father stopped coming. And there was no more sacrificing. And that Angel, this Angel, had protected him like she said she would.
Yet, he still had the memories. Of that time. Of the sacrificing. And the words of this Angel saying, “Someday, you will be loved. And be able to love.”
The boy wanted to believe in that possibility. The man wanted to believe in that possibility.
The man wondered briefly if he was insane, and also the cab driver, and the Angel, and his father, and his mother. Everyone. Even his girlfriend. But, he knew he wasn’t. Insane. Or any of them. Only himself. He remembered, clearly, this Angel standing beside his bed after the last time his father had come. Ejaculating in his pants. And sheets. “Tell your mother it’s snot,” his father had said. “Feel it. It’s like snot.” The boy knew the one-eyed snake had bitten him. Again.
The boy cried in his sleep that night. And many nights, after. On one of the, after, crying nights, the Angel came. The night the Angel came after, and his father stopped coming after that. After the Angel came. After the crying on that last night. The boy then, and the man now knew the Angel was real. It was this same Angel with him, now, on his way to the bus stop.
The man remembered and knew these things as he rode in the cab, his bus stop getting closer.
Was this to be his never returning?
Had he lost his destiny? In the losing of his father? His mother? His girlfriend? Her trying to be all three? And not herself.
Now he understood why she had to leave. Why he had to have her leave. And she knew this. Perhaps.
Then. Somewhere. Somehow. Inside. He. Knew. He hadn’t. Lost. Everything.
He was beginning.
was taking the bus.
“Is your radio on?” he asked the cab driver.
“What radio?” the cab driver said.
The cab driver turned around, and the man who was the boy who cried in his sleep and after while he was still awake, saw the face of his father grinning at him. “I am your father,” the face said.
The man, who was the boy, before, stood within himself, growing tall into the man he was now. He realized, he no longer feared this other man. His father.
The boy was not his father.
I am not you,” he said to the face.
He signalled for the cab to stop. Let him out. At the bus stop.
He got out.
He saw himself as the boy, waving goodbye, in the cab’s rear-view mirror.
He knew he had been freed. Of something. He was free. To find. His own destiny. Now. His own destiny was free to find him, too. Re-find him. Maybe. He had been away. Now he was on the way to his own bus stop. He had been riding in a cab, not his, playing songs on a radio where there was no radio.
He stepped lightly walking to his bus stop. He saw it was made of glass.
“Glass houses shouldn’t throw stones,” he said.
“Where you goin’?” a clerk asked.
Home,” he said.
He looked down at his right hand where an old typewriter seemed frozen. He loosened his grip. The typewriter swung easily. Dangling freely at his right side and became a guitar case, too.
Destiny came in that moment.
The man walked towards his bus. He did not turn. Or look back. He could see behind him, anyway. He saw his father. He saw his mother. They were standing behind glass. At their bus stops. They waved to him.
He saw they were children. Children crying. Abused, too. Mercilessly. They were sorry for what they had done to him.
The man knew then he was a musician. A maker of words. On the page. That sang to you. A writer. He had come to his bus stop.
He turned to the Angel and said, “Angel, I thank you for being with me on this trip.”
“It’s like that on the way to your own bus stop,” the Angel said, quietly, making no requests.
The man wrote about her, anyway.
His words sang on the page.
The song of his life.
For men who experienced sexual abuse or assault during their childhood, this is an excellent resource: