Author: Kyle Stark
I thought I’d be flooded. I was waiting for tsunamis, when I should have been admiring the view from the clouds, and the electricity swarming like sparkling and reflective butterflies all around me. I didn’t feel like I was under water anymore. My head fell back and I closed my eyes.
I wasn’t tired, but I was discovering that what I was feeling was euphoric relief; and for as long as it lasted, I wasn’t going to try to grasp it, because truly embracing it was letting it come over me. It had no hands and it had no feet. It was under me, and it was out the window beside me: waving as I was waving, saying good-bye to the big, black, and gray windy city.
May as well try to relax, I thought. After all, I was going to be on a train for three days.
There are a lot of different kinds of people on the train. One guy I wished I had talked to more was on his way to Truckee, California from New York City. He seemed really cool actually. He was enthusiastic, and I love enthusiasm, but then again, the only reason I didn’t get much of a chance to talk to him was because I was so wrapped up with the other friends I’d made; and even besides the colorful conversations, I had been sure to bring good literature; there was the sight-seeing car, and I brought a notebook with me.
The weightlessness I felt would last all the way to San Francisco. It was only the train’s momentum, but I still felt like I was on a hydroplane, and surfing.
My first friends name was Eddy. He was a character like no one I’ve ever met or seen in a movie. He was in his late 40’s, had a large beer belly, a sleeveless, ragged, gray shirt that was filled with holes, long, wavy, oily brown hair, cargo shorts, and he looked like a beach-bum version of Adam Sandler.
I was reading “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck, which is by far one of my very most favorite books (top 3) and he sat down next to me with a deck of cards.
“Whatcha reading?” he asked, and his tone was a strange, a working blend of enthusiasm and skepticism.
“East of Eden,” I said.
“What’s it about?”
I flipped it over to the description on the back and handed it to him. He glanced at it, slid it back across the table, and asked, “Wanna play cards?”
I don’t remember what we played because I don’t like playing cards and we didn’t play for long.
“Where you headed?” he asked.
“Santa Barbara,” I said, and it was true. I’d originally bought my ticket for Santa Barbara, but in the end I decided, on Eddy’s advice, and a couple of other factors, to get off the train in San Francisco. One of the other reasons was that I didn’t feel like taking an eight hour bus ride south right after a 3 day train ride.
He squinted, tilted his head, and asked “Why would you wanna go to Santa Barbara?”
I shrugged my shoulders, because in reality, I just really wanted to get into Cali. I didn’t really care where.
“What are you gonna do when you get there?” he asked.
“Probably find a job.”
He leaned back. I was an alien. “Why the hell would you want a job?”
Kyle Stark is a cultural fiction and travel writer from the Chicagoland area, and he has also spent time living in the Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest.
He published his first book “Five Stories and Nine Poems” on Amazon.com in November, 2016, also available to Kindle Unlimited Subscribers. He is currently studying the world of Islam. This includes Islamic history, faith, figures, culture, customs, government, law, society, as well as current political and social issues. See more from Kyle at www.kylestark.net.