**Ships upon arrival, ~Nov.12th
A mix for movement…
𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑟𝑡 𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑦 𝑏𝑒𝑙𝑜𝑤 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑤𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑡𝑒𝑛 𝑏𝑦 𝑅𝑜𝑏 𝐺𝑜𝑦𝑎𝑛𝑒𝑠 𝑤ℎ𝑖𝑙𝑒 𝑙𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑛𝑖𝑛𝑔:
As a child, Aggy liked to steal their parents’ phones and send texts to random numbers. The messages Aggy sent were kindhearted and peculiar. Sometimes, Aggy would text complex questions of a spiritual nature. Kids’ radical lack of filters is what makes them wise, but also very annoying, is what the parents repeatedly agreed whenever Aggy did this. The strangers’ replies, which always arrived after the parents had their phones back, were usually bemused, and rarely, but sometimes, they were belligerent. Disciplining Aggy for this behavior wasn’t simple.
“Aggy, honey, you can’t keep doing this,” said one of the parents. “We know you’re not being mean, but it could be dangerous, talking to strangers like this.”
“No phone for a week,” the other said.
Aggy took these haranguings gracefully. As the verdict was read out a subversive crack appeared at the edges of Aggy’s mouth. Once communicated, Aggy accepted these punishments with a tiny but steadfast stoicism.
A young adult now, Aggy was on a bus to a faraway place. Pacing the darkened aisle, Aggy listened to internet radio with giant headphones that claimed to cancel out sound, but still the polyglot of the travelers broke through. Someone muffled a sneeze and “Bless you” was said in three different languages. Aggy imagined them all as a horizontal, hurtling Tower of Babel, a biblical party bus. The mood on the Greyhound was jovial, alive. Besides the blanket of silence, this was where Aggy felt most at home, in the happily chaotic cone of incomprehension.
In Aggy’s ears, a melancholy saxophone faded away, and when the bass hit, Aggy’s pacing turned into a dance. Aggy moved up and down the aisle with the carefree elegance of abstract thought. Every half hour or so the bus driver would interrupt and suggest that Aggy sit down, but he didn’t seem all that concerned if the dancing continued—he said it in a way that seemed to egg Aggy on. The smell of chamomile drifted from a ceramic mug, mingling with the crispness of a freshly, discreetly popped bottle of champagne. A decrepit looking woman gave Aggy a big thumbs up after Aggy pirouetted.
Aggy grew winded and sat down. Aggy’s thoughts turned to Bruno, sweet naive Bruno, back home. A neighborhood friend, Bruno got bulky from the protein powders and gym, and was getting more attention from the kids at school. Most of it was affirming, flirty, and flattering. There was some bitter teasing, but no bullying per se. Still, it all made Bruno uncomfortable. He just wasn’t sure how to deal with the new attention. Aggy didn’t know what advice to give. “Develop a spreadsheet,” Aggy said.
The bus arrived at a cold and mountainous rest stop with a gas station. The mood deflated slightly, and the sylvan mountains gave off a purple hue, which soaked through everyone as they stepped off the bus. Some travelers smoked, others went inside and bought snacks from the brightly lit gas station. A wind chime tinkled every time the automatic door slid open. Some of them took their snacks and sodas and wandered to the other end of the parking lot, just to stand there and think.
Aggy sat on a wheelstop under a fluorescent beam. Picking a number at random, Aggy typed a text: “if people have souls, what about other animals, and why not trees and rocks? don’t get me wrong, I dont believe EVERYTHING has a soul. for example, this bag of cheetos and this gas pump definitely do not have souls. but even these things were made with the stuff of the universe, right? so they must still have trapped within them some portion of these souls, right? wonder what you think… yr friend, aggy”
Ten minutes later, after stretching and yawning and the bathroom breaks and susurrated phone calls, everyone boarded the bus. As they sat down a collective realization dawned on everyone, the reality settling in that there were twenty three hours left on the trip. Everyone got on the bus except for Aggy, who was by then already a quarter mile down a clearing, approaching the mouth of a moonlit valley.