My name is Anna. I am 30 years old, lean and tall golden blonde. My hair is long any my eyes are bright green. I was born and grew up in Norway, so I am more used to colder weather. How did I end up in the Deep South? After graduating from the Medical School of the University of Bergen with a degree in Medical Biology I was offered a teaching job in Alabama. It sounded like an adventure, so, I decided to try. English was a challenge at first, as well as a very different culture. It took me a few years to get used to the new environment and atmosphere. I eventually decided to stay there and bought a little house near Birmingham. I never felt particularly happy there. I didn’t have enough time to get married and to start a family. Honestly, I didn’t even date anyone seriously. My whole life was about work and thoughts, and some periods of depression and desperation. Time was going fast, but I often felt like I am not living my life and like if real life is happening somewhere else with someone else.
“Hi” – I heard soft voice behind me. I turned my head. It was dark, but lights on the bus were so dimmed that it was hard to see. There was a young girl on the seat behind mine. “Excuse me”, she continued, “I’m cold, I can’t reach to my blanket, it’s on the shelf up there”. She pointed to the luggage compartment above the seats. Her mother was soundly asleep. It was a little after midnight and our bus was going fast. “Sure”, I got her blanket and helped her to get covered. I also helped her to found missing stuffed animal. The girl was about 5 years old. I returned to my seat and continued thinking. “Children. Do I even want to be a mother? Do I want to be responsible for someone else’s like?” I wasn’t even married. I didn’t even have a boyfriend. It was probably premature to think about having children. So far it seems like I can barely take care of myself. All my stuff – well, what was left of it anyway – was packed in 2 bags. That was all I had after the tornado. I didn’t have a place to live. I didn’t know where I was going and what I will do. I lived in a present moment and had no future plans.
Next morning we have arrived to NYC. It was hot and humid. Dusty asphalt was smelly and all city sounds overwhelmed me almost instantly. It was still early and I saw people rushing to work. They were dressed in business suits and holding a suitcase in one hand and a coffee cup in the other. They had their lives figured. They knew what they wanted, where they were going and what they want to be doing. It wasn’t my case at all. I was staying there in a dirty bus stop with no idea where I want to be. I spent a few hours there just sitting on a bench observing other people. I hardly slept on the bus, so my mind was scattered and I wasn’t thinking clearly. Busses were stopping by and leaving the station. I watched other people getting in and out of them. Most busses looked about the same with a little age and color variation. A newer and bigger bus arrived. It was red and shiny and looked like it can bring me somewhere good. Some place where a great success can be achieved, all dreams can come true… It was almost noon, it started to become impossibly hot – middle of July with no clouds on the sky. I got into the bus as soon and its passengers left. I didn’t know where it was going, or if it was going anywhere at all. The bus driver left the doors opened and was talking with his friends outside. I got into the back seat – the AC was still working and it was pleasantly nice and cool. I closed my eyes and fell asleep almost instantly.
I woke up when sun was already down. There were a few people on the bus, but it wasn’t full and it wasn’t moving. I looked outside. There was the ocean, big ships outside. It looked like a port, or an industrial district. For how long was I asleep? I didn’t have a watch, so, I looked at my phone. Of course, I found 20 new emails in my inbox – which I completely forgot to check earlier. My friends being worried about me, newsletters and ridiculous job offers, facebook status updates – it is impossible to stay disconnected these days, you’re constantly reminded to disclose your location or current situation. I didn’t feel like doing that. With the information overload from my phone I forgot to check the time – my original task. It was 8pm. Then the bus started moving. I didn’t even know where it was going. I didn’t care enough to get up and ask someone either.
We arrived rather fast – only in a couple of hours there was a big bus station in a big city. I was looking into a window all the way and I saw us entering New England. I didn’t know where exactly we were going, but we ended up arriving to Boston. It was dark and late. I got off the bus, walked for a few hours carrying my stuff along with me, then decided to stop at a hotel for the night. I checked in into an average looking hotel, the surrounded area looked like a city, but it wasn’t in downtown. I’ve never been to Boston before, so, I was slightly disoriented. I decided to go outside and get something to eat. Going out probably wasn’t the best idea since I spent so much time on a bus and felt rather smelly. I stopped by a small grocery store.