Asia, Life, Random Thoughts, Short Story, story, Vietnam

Existential Side Conversations

Somewhere in Vietnam in 2019.


“So where do you live?”

It was such a simple question. How could I know that this would open up Pandora’s Box?

I blinked for a what felt like the longest second of my life. 

It was early, too early to hastily register the words being digested into my brain but not early enough to know that the coffee I just drank wasn’t very strong. 

My eyelids were burning, but not from a lack of sleep or a flame dancing in front me. 

Well, a flame was dancing, but it was millions of miles away. 

The sun. Its crimson and blood orange grin pierced into my line of site.

I had happily continued the small talk with this woman from the moment we exited the terminal on foot then stepped onto the transfer bus that would drive us to a resting aircraft. 

It started with a remark I made about her husband’s University of Washington hat, an odd sight to be been in Vietnam. 

The conversation was jovial until she had to ask me where I lived. 

Internally a mental conflict started to sprout. 

I could have simply responded that I lived in California but my heart wouldn’t let me say those words.  

I was too far away from home, already weeks into a trip that didn’t have an ending date, living out of a backpack, under caffeinated, and not in the mood to just continue with the typical flow of conversation. 

The truth of the matter was that in this precise moment in my life I didn’t know when I’d be settling in a place to call home. I just knew that somewhere in Danang there was a hostel bed reserved for me.

The rattle of the shuttle finally jerked the words out of my mouth. 

“Well, ma’am, I guess I don’t really live anywhere.” 

I blinked and she blinked.

Damn. Do I really not live anywhere? When was the last time I felt at “home?” Where is my place in this world? 

The words came out and I felt my face turn red, probably not from the sunshine erupting into my consciousness. She looked at me like suddenly we’d entered a networking event. Maybe this woman who was sitting a few feet away from me was a guidance counselor in a previous phase of life. 

“Well, so what is your….expertise?”

The word expertise rolled out slowly and overly pronounced. Her eyelids narrowed. Her husband offered a soft smile but kept silent. He must have known that this was the wrong lady to strike a casual conversation with. 

I wanted to continue in a slightly sarcastic fashion but already she had struck me deep in my core. 

What the hell am I good at? 

I could have said that I was a college graduate at some point in my life and that I had x experience doing  y and z but once again I stopped myself. Why fluff myself up to a stranger in a bus driving thousands of miles away from what I used to consider a “normal” life? 

“I don’t think I have an expertise yet, I guess I’m still learning what it is.” 

I hoped my travel buddy would interject with a comment but he was smartly listening to music and not paying attention to the conversation. 

A few more words were shared between both sides of the aisle. I couldn’t help but feel sullen. We hadn’t reached the plane yet and already I was feeling a gap of purpose and belonging. 

My mind was circling these concepts so vividly that anything else coming out of the woman’s mouth would have been greeted with the most default answer imaginable just to stop the internal bleeding of my ego. 

“So what do you think about our borders?”

Oh shit. Be full alert Danny. Code red code red.  

The words exited her pierced lips and reverberated in my eardrums. A deluge of tension flooded my senses and soon I didn’t care about not belonging anywhere. 

I just wanted to be somewhere. The airplane, for example, would have been a fantastic place to be but for some reason this damn tarmac happened to be forever long. 

Was it the Vietnamese border she was talking about? California’s border with Oregon? California’s border with Mexico? Nevada? Was it the thin walkway that separated this prying retiree with this overwhelmed and groggy blog author? Did she believe we needed a wall somewhere? 

I wasn’t sure if she was being serious but as I examined her expression I could tell she genuinely wanted my opinion on the matter. She must have mistaken my scruff with Keanu Reeves or someone running for city council. Too bad I was just a thirty-something unshaven backpacker who didn’t know what border she was referring to.

I didn’t ask for clarification and answered in most neurtal and diplomatic way possible.

“..Being in the Bay Area…um…we are very diverse…and uh…we don’t directly see the effects of what’s happening along the border..” 

What the frick did I just say?

She scanned me for a fleeting moment, determining whether my response marked me as friend or foe. I hoped my words were enough to evade any potential tension.

“My granddaughter is a lawyer in Texas…she’s working to help undocumented immigrants…” 

She soon changed the topic and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Whatever missile of awkwardness that was being launched was a dud and the remainder of the conversation reached its organic conclusion once the vehicle’s doors opened upon arrival to the plane. 

We said a brief “good luck” and “good bye” and I mentally crossed fingers to have a seat really far away from theirs. 

She and her husband continued their journey while my friend and I continued ours.

Nearly two years after that morning, part of me still feels the internal monologue during that bus ride: 

What’s my expertise? Where do I belong? 

I’m still going through that process.

In the meantime, a blog post here and there is good medicine for keeping positive.

The biggest difference between me now and then is that now I’m ok with not having everything figured out yet. Life is still pretty damn good.

Have a wonderful day, thanks for reading, and I hope you’re doing what makes you happy.



P.S. Have you experienced any random conversations with strangers during a journey that left a profound effect on you? I’d love to hear about it!

Fiction, Random Thoughts, Short Story

The Case of the Sneaking Rut

Once upon a time, under the covers of a bed not so far away, I found myself trapped.

Outside, the fall air was blanketed in fog and I was groggy, struggling to get the morning started. 

The sheets weighed like cinderblocks – they usually do but on this particular morning they were oddly stronger than normal.  

My arms trembled to break myself free. After a few revs the cerebral engine kicked into first gear as I launched the covers off my body and in a daze I lumbered downstairs. 

A series of steps later and soon I was face to face with my daily rocket fuel.

My loyal french press.

Without focusing, muscle memory had me opening a cabinet and twisting off the lid of a mason jar filled with ground coffee. My vision was blurry and hands were shaking. I erratically started digging and scooping tiny mounds of coffee into the press, and the blue linoleum all around me became tarnished as grounds escaped to the floor.  

It didn’t matter; this was time for coffee and to wake up.  

Not one, not two, but three massive scoops of Safeway Select ground coffee were necessary for this batch of brew. 

Water boiled on the stove then my frantic hand swirled the mixture together. A voice echoed from some far off corner of my consciousness as the liquid began to steep. 

Daniel, you’re in a rut.

I blinked and didn’t break eye contact with the metallic press, ignoring whoever that was who said that. 

In the background, the kitchen clock’s metallic hand became maddening. Once every second my serenity would become disrupted by a tick. 

Finally I pushed on the steel lid on my coffeemaker, plunging it deeper into the canister and dividing the grounds from the hot water. 

A wonderful waterfall of caffeine poured into a white mug.

One sip, then another, then one more for good measure. 

Usually the mere flavors of coffee would instantly perk me up but this morning was different. 

Nothing, absolutely nothing. The tide of drowsiness wasn’t receding; it was flooding all over the morning’s picnic. 

I poured a second cup of java. 

Oh frick I thought to myself. This was the moment I was fearing since the day I started my successful passion project many years ago of drinking an endless supply of coffee provisions: the caffeine stopped working.

After multiple tastes it became clear that that no matter how many cups of coffee were drank that it wouldn’t be enough to mask the hard truth: 

Maybe this was a rut.  

It was time for a new plan of action. 

I plopped my torso and legs onto the floor. I started to push myself up and back down in fury. If the sweet nectar of caffeine couldn’t galvanize my body then surely some bursts of physical activity would.

Up, down. Up, down. Up, down.

My arms creaked in harmony with the floor as momentum started to dissipate. Gravity became the victor as my body went limp. The only place that escaped the muscular burn was the right side of my face as it pressed against cold kitchen. 

Damn my feeble 32 year old body I cursed. In a pant I lifted myself up and down a few more times but it wasn’t to any avail. Exercise wasn’t doing to dig me out of this internal hole that seemed to be shoveling dirt into my face. 

I sat up feeling lost and already missing the good old days of a caffeine buzz. 

This was a textbook case of being stuck in a rut.  

Neither coffee nor exercise could appease the inner vacancy. There was something missing and I needed another remedy. I needed…

…to write. 

Natural light entered my world as I opened the blinds, returned to the coffee table, flipped open my laptop and oxygen seeped into the deepest corner of my lungs. 

A blank Word document. 

Without thinking my fingers started to dance across the keyboard. 

In times like these what the heck could I write about?

A flurry of tapping and spaces and periods started to consume me. My roommate aka-my dad walked by and I only greeted him with a neanderthal-like grunt. Somehow words crept into the territory of sentences and eventually something happened:  

I started to wake up. 

The kitchen clock was probably still ticking but the only important thing was filling the blankness of the word document in front of me. Moments later I looked up and noticed that hours had passed. Whatever it was I had written was suddenly finished and a wave of relief came over me. My hands needed a break and inside the flooding was at bay. 

This exercise was firstly just a form of therapy and way to distract myself. However, after a quick skim of the draft I actually liked it.

A thought bubbled up into my head:

Dare I share this with the universe? 

I decided to not wait a second later and publish it in my blog, before waves of doubt started to swell. Clicking open my page I noticed that it had been months since publishing anything. 

My blog didn’t need to give me a lip service for its lack of attention because the aftertaste from all that coffee was from a blend called remorse. It had been a neglected digital puppy from a lazy wannabe verbose owner. The inspiration garden had been suffering a drought so nothing had been motivating me to write. 

After copying, pasting, and finally clicking the “publish” button I realized that we don’t have to be inspired to create something, we just need to start and eventually inspiration will come. Going with the flow and seeing what happens often times works in interesting ways. 

A small green notification told me that the article had been successfully published to the world. 

Looking out the window the fog was fading and it appeared that the day would actually be beautiful. A mental scan told me that the rut was thankfully gone. The voice came back.

Daniel, this might be one of the best days ever.

I was going to brush my teeth, get the day started, but impulsively I sat back down, opened the laptop and clicked open the article. 

I had to read it again…just one more time for good measure. 

I read the opening sentence to myself:

 “Once upon a time, under the covers of a bed not so far away, I found myself trapped.”

After a moment I decided to close the laptop and get going. This was all I needed. 

It ended up being a truly wonderful day.


Thanks for reading, I like your style!



Ideas, Life, Short Story, Spain, story, Travel

Redemption in Alicante

Author’s note: This might have happened sometime a handful of years ago.



Shades of violet began to spill upward into the sky.

Rowed fields with the occasional farmhouse emerging out of nowhere became visible.

On this ALSA passenger bus it was too early in the morning to hold a conversation with strangers, but not early enough to feel bursts of frustration and personal disappointment. At this Lordly hour the only people I could imagine on the interstate between Murcia and Alicante were factory employees, contraband smugglers, and suckers late for an airplane.

As the sun started to make its morning cameo, a flash from two weeks ago came into memory.

The flight-booking website Skyscanner had an amazing deal from Alicante to London via Ryanair.

This deal was so good it was evil, so evil that I hastily purchased a roundtrip flight.

It was such a steal that I didn’t bother to see what time the flight left or to check ALSA’s bus schedule between Murcia, the city where I was living, and Alicante.

I told myself that everything would iron itself out in due time.

Fast forward to right now. The bus was on time but also it was becoming clear that I’d miss the plane. A combination of not packing the night before and a lack of hourly buses between the two cities had me in this undesired state of affairs.

I forcefully shut my eyes and tried to think of anything to distract my conscious from admitting that this outing was looking more like a day trip to Alicante than a weekend in London.

Bald eagles, vanilla ice-cream, Selena Gomez.

Nothing seemed to work, however opening my eyelids the flickers of sun reflecting off the vivid blue of approaching sea meant that we were close. In the distance, a solid streak of teal began to take shape, as if sneaking up on the rows of farmland and within minutes the blue took over the landscape. The tension inside my mind began to alleviate as we finally entered Alicante and eventually halted at loading bay of the cities’ bus station.

Hope wasn’t lost. There was still a tiny window of time to get to the airport.

Step one: Get to Alicante. Done.

Step two: Catch the shuttle that stops in front of the station and take it to the airport. In progress…

Clutching the black canvas straps of my backpack with determination I exited the ALSA bus and ferociously power-walked towards the street. I could feel a temporary gust of air as the glass doors of the station glided open and I hooked a hard right then one more at the intersection.

The outside was so bright that I had to rub the drowsiness out of my eyelids in order to focus on the bulky four-wheeled object directing itself towards me. This was the bus stop for the airport, and I was the only person standing on the corner.

I looked up victoriously, assuming that the mere presence of a human being standing vertically in the designated zone was enough to make the driver put on the brakes, open the swinging door, and invite the haggard looking traveler onboard.

It wasn’t.

The shuttle didn’t stop. It didn’t even slow down. It simply accelerated by me.

I turned my head to watch it disappear past a park with ficus trees and out of my life.

I don’t know why I didn’t raise my hand as it arrived to signal it to stop, nor why I didn’t make chase. I just let it go. It could have been that the Skyscanner deal was simply too good to put much effort into catching that shuttle, or maybe I knew that this would one day inspire me to write a blog post about it.

Either way, it was gone and the plan was ruined.

Standing on an empty street corner in Alicante with a backpack zipped full underwear and a couple shirts, I was hoping a bird would land by me to not feel completely alone.

If life at that moment was an arcade game, I felt like a guy with no tokens.

I didn’t worry about catching the next bus to Murcia, as I now had all the time in the world. I now needed food and coffee. Not knowing where the nearest sandwich or pastry shop was located, I simply took a defeated turn onto a random street.

The hunger became stronger, and for some reason not a single cafe was in site. A couple more blocks down the street and the only familiar view was San Juan beach and some distant seagulls as they flapped above. Through desperate eyes, I finally discovered signs of life.

A market.

Undernourished and under caffeinated I stumbled towards the entry and the whites of my eyes expanded as I gazed at what could have been a mirage.


Row upon row of small, vibrantly orange mandarines grouped in plastic crates right outside the market’s door. If I had the energy to count I would’ve guessed that there were hundreds just sitting there, waiting to be eaten. They looked so good that maybe they weren’t real; they could’ve been just for display and actually made of plastic.

I didn’t grab one, I grabbed four. I handed over a couple euros to the man behind the counter and walked out with my first meal of the day and a small bottle of water.

Citrus burst into my palate as I devoured the first one like a baby who hadn’t learned to chew. The skin peeled off in one piece. The next one had the perfect combination of sweetness and acidity.

The third mandarine was so easy to peel and tear off small pieces of it into my mouth that I almost got upset. At that moment I knew that I’d never again find a mandarine as delicious as the ones that were in my hands.

Scanning the blueness overhead, there was probably a plane somewhere in the infinite sky that had a vacant seat on it, but at this moment it didn’t matter anymore.

Brilliant sparkles of whiteness mirrored off the sea,

as I patiently undressed the last mandarine.

This one had a different flavor from the others…

…It tasted like redemption.

Fiction, Short Story, story

A Face in the Crowd

Do I smell popcorn?

The muscles in my eyelids sputter a few flickers as my I search with my nostrils for the aroma of the lightly buttered snack that brings me back to those times when I would spend money at cinemas.

The cracks and pops are making the emptiness beneath my winkled abdomen sing a ballad that brings me back to the times when I could hardly walk while looking up to see the Cookie Monster on television.

I can hardly keep my balance as two eyelid contractions jerk me forward and the snack that I used to love, before the doctor said I shouldn’t eat it anymore, is really just the friction of my knees as they sway to keep my lumbering body upright.

A light is shining in my eyes and while pushing to keep them open a puddled memory splashes into my consciousness.

Is that sweat dripping down my forehead?

The heat brings me back to that time when I did that one thing for a while with those people whose names I can’t remember, in that city that was hot all the time.

The redness of the light as it pierces through my closed eyelids bursts in a temporary dam of whites and yellows and in moments the blurriness evaporates into semi-clearness.

I scratch the top of my smooth hairless scalp in search of any traces of my youth, hoping that maybe one or two relics still remain.

My vision has started to amplify and for a brief second I feel startled as a face that slightly looks familiar appears from what originally seemed like a shiny laberinth of nothing.

The dilation in my pupils and half-opened jaw of ivory-white dentures give the other person a frightened stare that matches mine.

I tell myself that the face isn’t there, that it’s just my imagination. The saggy eyelids, chapped-lips, and off-white cheeks aren’t real. I force the coughing wheel of memories in search of something that still makes me happy. How about the first time I fell in love?

I start tracing back, to before my marriage, to before my bad back, to before the times when my knees warmed-up like of crackles and pops of cereal.

I’m pretty sure she had curly brown hair. Her name escapes me but perhaps if I keep focusing on her it will float to the surface of my internal picture safe. She was a singer right? Or maybe a dancer? I honestly can’t recall and I soon open my eyes in gasping need for mental oxygen.

The face.

Pale, haggard, like a ghost that’s been summoned to haunt my sight.

Maybe it’s the reaper that’s come to finally take me. Darn it looks familiar. It looks like a withered lion in some mapless savannah that’s been accidentally caught on a documentary reel.

I feel like it’s judging me. Maybe it knows all the promises I’ve made, all the aspirations I think I had, and all of the things my former Facebook account used to send me notifications about. Does it know of all the things I said I’d do, or words that I thought were true?

My brain starts flipping through a floating glossary of people of who the face could be. It couldn’t be that guy, he’s dead. It couldn’t be that other person, because I haven’t heard from him in years. Who’s still keeps in touch? Who’s still breathing? Who even remembers that I’m still here.

I’m trying as hard as possible to focus on the face. It’s doesn’t recognize me either, and I want to reach out to touch it but maybe it will run away if I try.

This person must be lost.

It reminds me of when I spent all those years trying to figure my life out, trying to find a purpose, and trying to find my way.

All those years, all those decades.

I feel slightly sorry for the face, I sense a silent look of desperation in it’s wrinkled complexion. I try to make a small smile and for some reason this unknown person let’s his guard down and greets me with a similar touch of warmth.

That feeling. It reminds me of something, but for now I can’t remember.

I blink to erase the face. I’m too old and don’t have the patience for this anymore, surely there was something I was supposed to be doing.

Chop chop, face, get a move on.

I blink again and it’s still there.

Pop, pop, pop. Crack, pop, crack.

I sway from left to right.

Two hard blinks and one slow blink.

My vision seems back to normal again.

Looking down, I remember why I’m standing here.

Grabbing for the tube of Crest,

the plastic bristles don’t tickle my gums or arches of ivory-white

as I start brushing my teeth.

Fiction, Short Story, story

A Street Corner Named Desire

The corner of Avenida Abenerabi and Calle Marquez de los Vélez on a chilly Spring day.

I’m not quite sure if it’s Spring or just a blustery fall afternoon as I continue with some meanderings known as walking to the store.

I need to pick up a carton of eggs and various random food-related products. White earphones are giving me a strolling soundtrack as I reach the end of the sidewalk. The walking signal is red, so I make a quick halt in front of the crosswalk.

Scanning both sides of the normally busy street, I see that there’s not a single moving vehicle in sight.

There’s time for me to hustle across the intersection and continue towards the market. My feet inch towards the starting line, but suddenly an elderly woman and a young child take position next to me.

They do their citizenly duties and obey the no-walking sign.

Inside I want to beat any incoming cars and cross, however a voice starts telling me to think twice.

I’m thirty-one and an ESL teacher. Get your shit together and stay here.

Damn, the voice makes a lot of sense. If I go for it, then the grandmother would have to explain to the boy that I’m an asshole, and not abiding by the law.

My conscious wins the battle and I decide to play a positive role model.

Fine. I’ll wait it out.

It will be good to follow the rules, maybe even cool?

A few moments at the crosswalk go by, and a gaggle of more pedestrians can be sensed building up behind me on the sidewalk.

One guy in a Vespa scoots by us in a buzzing salut, followed by more gaps of nothing.

Time feels like it’s standing still with us on the corner as the light stays red.

I’m starting to remember that the traffic lights in this city are all on a timer, and not based on motion sensors.

Someone breaks the line and scurries across the street as if he was being chased by a buffalo.

The pedestrian damn is about to break. Once one street crosser gets defiant and proves that it’s alright to cross on a red, then the rest of the herd starts getting fearless.

A lady with a bag of peppers and a couple teens with saggy backpacks lose their patience and race to the other side.

In the corner of my eye I see that the grandma is still holding her grandson’s hand, patiently waiting for the signal to change.

I’m going to lead by example. My instincts be damned.

All of my natural desires are yelling at me to make a run for it, to say bye to this street corner from hell.

The light stays red and now I’m sure that the city planner is working for the Illuminati.

This is all in some diabolical masterplan or some twisted sociological experiment.

Just fricking turn green you bastard.

As nothing happens, I start hoping that whoever set the crosswalk timer has some terminal illness, or at the very least a drinking problem or hopefully a bad back.

As a guy with a wrinkled polo shirt blows past me, I find myself alone with the old lady and the boy. If I left now then I’d not only be a rule breaker, but maybe the old lady would say that I’m an asshole and a complete psycho.

I’m here for the long haul.

I close my eyes and pray for the light to turn green.

I don’t even want any eggs anymore.

The store has probably closed or changed ownership by now.

As I open my eyelids the lady and the boy have already made it halfway across the street, the red signal still glaring in the background.

The woman’s soft wobble match the beating of my now deceived heart.

I’m not sure if it’s Spring, but I do know that I’m a sucker on a street corner.

The light finally turns green, but then I realize that I left my wallet at home…

The End?

Coffee, Europe, Ideas, Life, Murcia, Random Thoughts, Spain

The Smartphone App Purge

Author’s note: No phone applications were permanently harmed during the writing of this post, and everything you are about to read definitely maybe happened.

Sitting in Santo Domingo Plaza, under the protection of a dark tinted cafe tent, I was scrolling through the touchscreen of my smart phone when suddenly a crazy notion pinched me on the arm:

All of the apps on the phone are starting to stress me out.

Maybe the effects of caffeine hadn’t quite hit my system yet, but in that moment I felt that it was time to go back in time, back to the days when I hardly used applications. Looking at the screen, I felt overwhelmed by all of the programs that I’d been collecting like vintage Pokemón trading cards. Scanning a rough estimate, I counted about forty apps. In my mind most of them were purely used out of convenience, and not out of necessity.

I took a deep breath and hopefully it was only a lack of coffee that was making my index finger shake.

The first victims were my travel apps: Hostelworld, the ALSA bus app, and Skyscanner. Screen press, click, click, click, and soon all of my news apps disappeared into digital oblivion as well. The phone swamp was getting drained. Flashes of 2012 started flickering in my mind, or maybe even as far back as 2010. I was feeling lighter and maybe a little bit younger.

However, the sudden crowning of absolute power caught me off guard, and without thinking I deleted my Gmail app.

Shit. I probably still needed that one.

This cafe didn’t have wifi and my Vodafone data plan was running on fumes, so I wouldn’t be able to redownload Gmail from the app store until I found a hotspot somewhere.

I thought oh well, and continued weeding the crystal glass garden sitting in the palm of my hand.

I decided that Spotify and Whatsapp were two untouchables, but why not delete Facebook Messenger? One press and click later, I remembered that a lot of friends back in the United States exclusively communicated through Messenger. If they didn’t think I was dead yet, or at the very least trapped in a well somewhere, then now they absolutely would.

Shazam? Gone. Skype? Bye bye. Instagram? Gulp, let’s see what happens.

Oh wait.

Before I knew it, the display on my phone had downsized to merely one page. I didn’t need to scroll anymore, everything was right there in front of me. The trauma of a couple unnecessary deletes left me a little rattled, but a sip of coffee swished away the temporary grief. I could finally breathe, and the stress that these apps had for some reason caused me was starting to finally recede like a reverse lava flow.

Without having time to enjoy my recently achieved weight-loss, a really cool song started playing in the cafe’s background stereo system.

Damn, I would have liked to know who that was.

Now I’d never know because the space on my screen where Shazam used to raise its family was now occupied by a square-shaped icon of absolutely nothing. I could have asked some cafe employee, but pressing a blue button on my screen seemed more appropriate. Also, usually the people working there didn’t even know that there music was playing. I remembered a funny picture that a friend tagged me in on Instagram, and soon I felt like a criminal. Had the power been taken too far? What kind of calamity had I just committed?

I was inspired to vent about my brash burst of decision making in a blog post, but that wasn’t possible, either. WordPress and the Pages app were only memories.

Did I even have money to pay for the coffee? I could have easily checked my bank balance to make sure that I could pay by debit-card, but the BBVA mobile app wasn’t there to help.

Oh no, did I have a private English lesson this morning?

My Google Calendar app was gone, but luckily no angry Whatsapp messages had flashed on my screen yet.

Digging around with my non app-destroying hand and salvaging one euro from my front jean pocket, I paid a cafe employee and scanned the horizon for a place that might have a public wifi network. I needed to right these wrongs, and I had to do it quickly. If only I had Google Maps to guide me…

I stood up and sent my gaze around the plaza, accidentally making awkward eye contact with a lady who had just ordered a croissant.

Is she really going to put that much butter on that thing?

I decided the best option was to go to the library. I’d pillage their wifi and pretend to read books…

The End?


Europe, Spain, story, Travel

Torrevieja Bus Stations

At 10am in Torrevieja the sun was already hindering my eyesight and all of the layers I was wearing began to feel highly unnecessary.

If the bus that I’d been waiting before decided to be delayed by a few minutes. I would have considered shedding my winter jacket and throw it in the garbage. I didn’t feel like standing up, nor exerting more energy that would cause more temperature induced discomfort. Blocking heavy sun rays with my right hand, I decided to instead sit out my final handful of minutes in this southern coastal city next to a vending machine.

A grey haired security guard shifted weight between soft strides as he compared the knots of his shoelaces.

The taste of a slightly overpriced black coffee lingered in my palate as I pulled out my moleskin notebook in an effort to distract myself.

There wasn’t anything I wanted to write and soon the huffing from a Costa Azul bus line coughed it’s way into a nearby passenger loading platform.

The lady at the ticket counter told me to wait in front of platform number six, and this bus that just perched itself was waiting at number nine.

“Go ask the driver where it’s going.”

An elderly man with short white hair and a plaid button down shirt leaned forward in the seat next to me.

I stood up and tried to make eye contact with the driver, in an attempted Jedi mind trick to find out where his bus was going. It didn’t work and my hesitation prompted the old man to cajole me forward.

“Just ask the driver. Maybe it’s going to Alicante.” I smiled and nodded at the guy, as he seemed to be knowledgeable about the workings of Torrevieja buses.

I clutched my backpack and approached the driver. He confirmed that this indeed was my bus, seven minutes early and docked at the wrong platform.

Before handing the Costa Azul employee my ticket that cost four euros, I turned back to the elderly man.

“Thank you! You were right.”

The bus’ ignition was still running as I felt a sudden urge to initiate small talk.

“Where are you going to?”

In a half smile he did his best to glance up at me for as long as the pestering sunlight would permit.

“Me, well, I’m not going anywhere.”

Looking at the old man, the weight of my backpack felt a little heavier.

In a pretend laugh, “You’re just having a rest.”

He continued the half smile and gave me a one word “yes.”

This was probably a good time to leave so I said farewell and boarded the waiting bus.

The old man kept leaning forward as other travelers shuffled around the terminal.

The now crumpled up ticket of paper read “Alicante” but as the transport reversed away from the platform I didn’t really know if I was going anywhere, either.

Ideas, Life, Random Thoughts, Short Story, story

An Almost Death in the Morning

Blackness at 8:30 in the morning.

My eyes are heavy, my hair looks like a scene from a made-for-tv disaster film, and the taste in my mouth is reminiscent of someone who has just spent seven hours in bed.

Without breathing my right hand claws for an unseen, but instinctively familiar wall switch.

My senses are instantly invaded with brightness.

Eye-lids flicker.

My feet start moving forward.

Who? Me.

What? Walking.

Where? Bathroom.

When? 8:30 in the morning.

Why? Who the hell knows, it’s too early.

Familiar words get picked from the apple-tree of my memory. Bathroom, sink, mirror, carpet, toothpaste, shower…Shower!

Why? Shower.

That’s right. I’m here to take a damn shower.

I’m facing the the curtain of the shower and somehow between the doorway and here my clothes have disappeared. Maybe I never walked in here with clothes.

More vocabulary.

Curtains, tub, soap, shampoo, faucet, water, spider…Oh shit.

Not really knowing how I’ve managed to make the shower function, one foot was about to step into the tub when an unexpected guest was waiting for me to enter: A spider with a leg-span of maybe a nickel. There are only a handful of things that make me fearful in this world: getting attacked by a zombie shark, being ejected out of an airplane, mayonnaise, and of course spiders. There’s hardly any rationality behind this, but many life decisions have been influenced by these fears.

The water has been running for a few moments, and has now reached the ideal temperature for me to lift one leg into warm liquid.

The spider wasn’t perched high enough in the tub, and soon a volley shower drops are rendering it incapable of climbing to dryness. I enter the shower, feeling secure that by now there was no way this little bugger would be able to touch me.

The wave of relief that originally swept through my mind isn’t lasting.

Looking down I see that the spider is soon to be a goner. It couldn’t swim, couldn’t move it’s body, and within a few moments it would surely die.

I try to ignore it and pretend to look for shampoo.

Hot shower water sends streams of guilt down my scalp.

Maybe this little bugger has a wife with little baby spider children, and all he wanted was to find a fly for breakfast. Maybe this little creature on the verge of dying isn’t a spider at all. Maybe it’s someone I used to know who’s been reincarnated with eight tiny legs.

Part of me wants to watch it get sucked down the drain, but I know that this wouldn’t be right. He’s trapped in a massive colosseum in the form of a bathtub and doesn’t deserve this fate. If I ever find myself stuck in a similar situation I would pray to every God that existed for help. He or she is just being a spider, and if I let it die then I would walk out of the shower feeling dirtier than when I entered.

I haven’t even had cereal yet and soon I’ll have a death lingering over my conscious. Let mother nature or a spider-sized lightning bolt decide its future, not me.

We always keep a comb in the shower, so without thinking more I picked up and scoop the motionless creature out of the raging storm, flicking it onto the bathroom carpet. One miniature leg starts to fidget, followed by another. It would live to scare me another day.

Drying off afterwards, maybe that spider was a criminal and had it coming.

It’s too late now.

Maybe he’ll tell his spider buddies not to mess with me anymore.

Looking in the mirror, for the first time in my life, I finally feel like I’m thirty years old..