Zach and I shouldered our bags into the Tucson Tufesa station and stepped into the other sphere. We fell on chairs as Mexican voices flowed to our ears from the TV on the wall. Zach listened with attention. My head was down, trying to reboot dust-laden Spanish on my phone. We go to hispanohablante countries when our friendship meets watersheds and this was the third time.
New truths wait only at the ends of time’s corridors for the scholars of the world. He was always the scholar, pushing his knowledge through his heart before it greets the sun. Spanish comes to him like an inevitable truth. He soaks it up as a sponge and forever commits it to memory. Two years ago we stood chatting in his kitchen and realized this fascination was a shared one, a meeting of different winding histories that weaved Spanish into us and our Arizona childhoods. After a first jaunt to Puerto Peñasco and an overdue rendezvous in Spain, those histories found us in the Tucson Tufesa station, minutes away from the midnight bus to Mexico.
Old phrases had creaked from my mouth to ask the woman behind the counter for tickets. Zach was now repeating those words to himself as he watched the television. Deconstructing them, correctly inferring their grammar. Occasionally we would swap remarks on turns of phrase that caught our ears or made us laugh. We were each preparing. For a trip through the desert, for a stint in Mexico. For a conversation we weren’t ready to have in the usual languages of life.
A porter comes at ten until midnight to take our bags. “Perdón, are you boys going to Mexico?”
“Yes, to Guaymas. Gracias.”
It had not bubbled to consciousness that I had loads to say to him. Words to seek his counsel and his friendship and—if only by a grace I was not due—his forgiveness. I had not yet said them to myself.
The door opened at the back of the station. As we passed through it the attendant glanced at our tickets and waved us on with a curious, supportive smile. Zach and I wander to the near back of the bus and spot our seats to the right. The bus is snug like good Sonoran winters. We sit down, the bus fills, the lights dim, and we move. The wheels carry dozens of humble pilgrims and it occurs to me how rarely my journeys head south of Tucson. I turn to look at his eyes, to sync up, but he is already asleep.
I stare at the seat in front of me and drift. The bus rolls through the night, still.
I think my life should be a cartoon. I would always have a happy ending.
Reflections on a duck pond
Bright fake mornings in this half-home. This city always feels peaceful. Perhaps because it was never fully mine?
To be strong enough, to be brave enough, to be kind.
Wider view of mountain snow over Tucson
Mountain snow over Tucson
Why I go tonight for this kiss
Stopping Past the Park