It’s three in the morning at the bus terminal. Why am I awake?
I scrutinize the arrivals and departures, ultimately selecting the twenty-six line. Not sure how far it’ll take me but anywhere is better than where I’m at now.
The kiosk chimes as it finishes processing my card and spits out a ticket. The three-fifteen boards in a few minutes so I shoulder my pack and walk outside to the boarding area. It’s raining. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me happy, cold feet aside, I’ve never felt more alive when it’s raining, never slept better either.
I look up at the silver and black behemoth parked in the terminal, I can smell the tang of diesel exhaust as the engine rumbles. The driver is sitting in her seat, nodding occasionally to passengers as they board. I show her my pass and join the few others on the road to nowhere.
A short while later the air brakes hiss and we pull out of the terminal. I settle into my seat, watching the streetlights roll by, I can feel the rumble of the tires beneath my seat as rain spatter against the windows and I allow my mind to drift, I mean, what else is there to do?
I’ve always been afraid of dying, I mean… I’m mortal, I get it. I suppose it’s because I lament that I have no basis for comparison when it comes to the death experience, I lament that I don’t know what’s on the other side. Maybe some of it is annoyance as opposed to fear, I gave up on the concept of a heaven or hell when I realized that if a god or a “supreme being” does exist, he/she/it has a really crappy sense of humor. What movie was it? “God is just a kid with an ant farm lady, he’s not saving anybody” that’s about where I stand religiously, Oh right… “Constantine” with Keanu Reeves. Great movie. Anyway, annoyance that we only get one turn around, I mean… unless reincarnation is a thing.
I should clarify, if you believe in something, a supreme being, the flying spaghetti monster, whatever it might be… I’m not telling you you’re wrong. Faith by whatever name you call it is an important part of the human experience, I just choose to put my faith in myself.
Anyway, I mention death because for the better part of my life I’ve always found myself coming back to the concept that the first person view I see the world through, is not the same view that someone else does. It’s difficult to quantify this, but I see the world through a specific lens, completely incapable of watching myself in the third person, I’m stuck in first person view. For some reason that’s always bugged me. So, I can’t see life through anybody’s eyes but my own… and for some reason, this causes me to drift to the death experience and wonder what it’ll be like. Then I go back to the point that eventually I’ll die and like a depressing circle where I rehash the same mental discussion.
The bus takes a corner at speed, by now the driver has dimmed the cabin lights, and the street lights are casting moving squares on the walls as we pass. Someone next to me is snoring.
I suppose life really is just a bus journey, maybe your final destination comes earlier than some, maybe it’s infuriatingly long. Eventually I’ll accept that I have no control over my final destination, only the method in which I get there, but even that is subject to variables I have no control over. Because, if i’m being honest; want to know what my biggest fear is?
Approaching death and still obsessing over questions like these.
Nate Miller currently lives in Dover, DE with his wife and 12 year old daughter. Through his career he has lived all over the United States with brief stays in the middle east, and South Korea. When he’s not contemplating the philosophical ramifications of death and countering it with any kind of comedy he can get my hands on, he’s usually writing short stories for his blog. His literary focus is mostly Steampunk fantasy. He loves the aesthetic of Steampunk, the Victorian Era style mashed with elements of steam technology, it leaves endless room for the imagination. He recently recently established a website where he hopes to bring more widespread attention not only to his writing work but others as well, be it poetry, stories or art. He’s always looking for people who want more exposure, who’d be interested in having their work featured on his site at no cost.