Saturday, January 19, 2013
As I peeked at the dreamy, descending sun through the gated window at the top of the looming clock tower at UC Berkeley, the sun peeked at me through its own cover, of light misty clouds. It stretched across the land from the edges of every mountain, every waving tree, to the tips of every brilliantly designed building, casting a shadow upon the hidden dark places beyond my eye’s horizon, kind of like Simba’s beloved kingdom in Lion King.
I watched the sunlight float around, searching for its next victim, and when it settled upon my welcoming face, I breathed in the beauty of it all; the chill, refreshing air, the spectacular land that spread out before me, and the nostalgia for the time not so long ago, where I walked daily on the campus grounds below me. I remembered the familiar contradiction between the busy drone of students rushing to classes, and the peaceful hum of equally rushing creek waters, and leaves rustling in the air. I remembered the sense of belonging, that sense of being a part of something so powerful like knowledge. I remembered the way the bells would chime delicately at every hour, sending a signal of vivacity rushing through me. As I stood on the top of the clock tower, one and a half years later, at the campus I so deeply connected to; at a different place, with a different purpose, and a different perspective, the bells pealed again, and I looked around for the last time, smiling at the world I once called my own.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
"Sorry, m'aam, no money, no service," The bus driver glared down at her, as she fumbled around in her purse for change, grimacing apologetically. His glowering eyes spat at her pleading ones, as though she had asked him to drain all the ocean's silvery contents and pour them into her delicate hands without allowing them to slip through her fingers, instead of the simple forty cent leeway she had silently requested. He quickly closed the door on her face after she hesitantly stumbled off, driving away speedily and leaving her soaked in her anxiety. He didn't know that the little change she had and was looking for, was lying dejected in a puddle, accidentally dropped in a fit of heartbreak as she spoke to the doctor on the phone about the test results indicating her son's illness. "You need to bring him back as soon as possible," he had said, and she had no health insurance.
The bus driver sighed his laments as he drove away. You see, his refusal to help the lady was attributed more to the habit of being as unpleasant as possible, than to his fear of a next to zero percent chance of being caught letting someone on without paying in full. In between the roads of crushed empathy left by road rage on a relentless rainy ride, and the familiar, gritty stench of marijuana seeping through his teeth, he had lost momentum and all efforts to become the stronger, more compassionate man with self control he dreamed to be, mingled with dirt and trickled away like a broken water pipe.
The teenage boy sat at the front of the bus. The driver was not smiling. The boy was perplexed. Why so grumpy?" He muttered under his breath. Sure, his music was a little loud, and his pockets bulged with freshly packed weed, but so what, he thought. "A bus driving job isn't all rainbows and butterflies, who does he think he is?" Little did he know that the driver was a recovering drug addict, struggling at a second chance in life, dangling on the thin threads of his newfound dreams.