To read this you must read Part One of this blog. This is a fearful venture to write down experiences nearly moments after they have happened. The clarity of those moments become jumbled in the lucidity of being present in the adventure. I’ll do my damn best to tell you how I felt, as I am still feeling the earth moving underneath my feet. Sometimes those tremblings are the post party tremors and sometimes from the madness of being alive. Oftentimes both.
Now I had no idea what either Hayden or Sarah had wrote to me. When Hayden wrote his note to me he went away and sat somewhere else so that he could write. Something uniquely characteristic of his humble nature. He came back shortly after and I handed him Sarah’s journal as Sarah and I traded ours.
Now what struck me was that when handing my journal to Sarah I felt bashful in a way that I hadn’t been in such a long time. Blood rushed to my face as if I was holding hands with my second grade crush. Something I have long since forgotten. I’m used to my blood being fueled by resentment. This was refreshing! I was shocked to know that I was feeling all of this right now. How the hell is this happening?!
I made the excuse to leave the viewing car when she began writing in my journal. I noticed my face going red and I needed to make leave. I wasn’t hungry and I certainly didn’t actually want to purchase those over priced peanuts from the cafe. I simply needed to shake off my jitters and try to figure out what was going on in my head. Something about her writing in my journal made me feel oddly vulnerable.
When I returned she had handed me her journal and I sat down to write in hers, and it felt intimate to have her sitting right beside me as I wrote remarks about how I felt in our short moments of knowing each other and how I hoped to run into her again someday. I saw a fire in her. A quality I look for in all people. Their fire. You find it specifically in the eyes and in the laughter. Her’s eyes held a calm excitement that didn’t seem to be bashed by years and years of mistakes and heartbreaks.
Though we all have had those experiences, maybe she just handled hers better than mine. Either way I could tell she held something special in her soul that many people don’t tap into.
As I wrote in her journal it seemed that she had mimicked my exit plan for the cafe. I started writing and shortly after pen met paper, she excused herself out of the viewing car for a moment. I brushed it off as my imagination and that she was not feeling the same strange connection that I was.
Once all of us had settled back into our seats, the Rockies still flying past our vantage point, we stayed bolted to our seats. Recognizing that this moment was a pivotal shift in each of our journeys.
I realized that I wanted to tell these people I had just met that I loved them and was grateful to have met them. Trying not to be a sap I restrained small pools of emotion in my tear ducts. The feeling was reciprocated and it felt as though we acknowleged what was happening in these moments. Fast friendships through the mountain range that stole my heart when I was just a child growing up in Missoula Montana.
The pivotal moment that I realized that we had a unique dynamic was when Sarahs friend Robin had come and sat with us after a nap that she was having. I felt our crew had shifted it’s emotional intensity a little. Nothing bad had happened, and Robin wasn’t a part of it, but I could sense that she was in a different world of her own. One that wasn’t of blissful excitement, which I hope she one day experiences if she hasn’t already.
As that train rumbled on we passed a patch of dandelions that I stated were beautiful. Hayden had sarcastically said that they were just a bunch of weeds and were not flowers, which most all of us know is true, but Sarah had a rhetorical phrase to combat what Hayden had said. “Dandelions are flowers, too, once you get to know them.”
My mind was blown. Who the hell is this person?
Hayden and I both looked in bewilderment at the statement. How eloquent and beautifully placed. She quickly claimed that it was actually a Winnie the Pooh quote. And if I may speak freely, I was maybe even more impressed that someone quoted Winnie the Pooh than I had about the phrasing itself.
Quickly we were realizing that part of our bond was about to be off the train in a few stops. Hayden was the first to stop off in the town that he was living in. As we neared his exit in Colorado he pointed out certain rapids that he frequented and the intesity of each one. He was also excited to be back hom in his van and to smoke a spliff and relax on the roof of his home.
When we made his final stop there was a group hug among us all and I walked him down from our train car. Shared some last moments and some laughs as the whole train stopped for their intermittent smoke breaks, roughly lasting 3-5 minutes.
We had decided to go down to the cafe and sit for a spell. To sit across from each other. To talk and laugh more than our weary bodies were willing to let us. I, becoming more and more ardent, was beginning to realize that our time together was swiftly nearing it’s end and I was also becoming exhausted. We decided to all take a quick nap and then rendezvous again before Hayden had to get off of the train and continue his life beyond our bubble of perfect human connection.
During our last moments a woman had come over to us to borrow a light for her smoke. She asked us where our next stop was. Me and Hayden looked at each other and laughed. We had merely just met and this stranger assumed that we were best friends travelling the country. She swore that we were headed off together. It was heartwarming and a beautiful thing to hear as I watched my friend trek off into the next leg of his life.
“See you in ten minutes, Dusty! I have a feeling we will be travelling together soon my friend.”
Continue reading for part 3 of my Blissfully Intoxicating Transcontinental Train Ride!!