I opened my eyes to see my suitcase and backpack resting on the hotel room floor. What was I doing here? I looked at the time: quarter to four. But the bus was supposed to leave at three, I thought. It was just a quarter to three a second ago. What happened? I dozed off, of course. What else could happen? Barely a second passed, and I rushed into the the hotel lobby, my suitcase following behind. But for all my haste, I was too late regardless. I had been left behind. What followed was a series of phone calls, and somehow, I found myself in the front seat of a pickup truck, travelling through the countryside with a man who surely did not like wasting his words. We moved on through a village and then another, and when we had travelled for a little over an hour, he stopped the truck, parked it in a perfect spot and said, “Break time.”
Break it was. I pulled a medium-sized paper cup from the dispenser and poured myself a cup of coffee. I paid for my coffee and offered to pay for the large-sized cup and the burger in his hands as a thank you or an apology. I was unsure which it was. My mind was still hazy from the cocktail of all the booze from the night before and the adrenaline of waking up into the nightmarish scenario everyone dreads when they are far away from home. No matter my intention, he declined, laughed and said, “It’s okay. I paid already.” And then, we sat in the booth and had our fill each and left once again on our way to the airport. A reel of colourful houses, lush green pastures around them, picket fences in all colours you could imagine them in played by as I watched outside the window. “You are not driving, my friend,” said the gentle giant, “Go to sleep.” I obliged. When I woke up, we were already making our way through the city, which had only begun to rise and shine.
When we reached the airport, he swerved into a parking spot and said, “We need to be quick; the bus will want this spot.” I got out the door with the same reaction speed I had shown when I first opened my eyes earlier that night. I got my suitcase from the back and thanked him.
“Don’t worry about it,” he said, pointing his finger at my face, “But from now sleep on time, yes?”
“Of course,” I laughed, dragging my suitcase behind me.