Someone’s coming up from behind us. Running.
We turn around to look.
It’s a tall American-looking guy. Maybe mid-to-late thirties.
He runs past us, wheezing very strangely.
I don’t understand the sounds he’s making. You’re also puzzled.
Is that a breathing technique? Some sort of extremely bizarre way to conserve energy while running through a mountain range?
I don’t understand. I have absolutely no idea what that guy is doing. It sounds like he’s having a medical emergency.
But he seems pretty fine. He’s running very vigorously – he doesn’t look like someone who’s likely to drop to the ground anytime soon. Which makes the situation all the more perplexing.
We exchange amused stares, chuckling under our breaths until he’s out of earshot. Then we make fun of him and ask each other what the hell his deal is.
We’re in the bus. Headed up to Muir woods. We’re going up this pretty steep hill – its a snaking winding road.
The bus was pretty full when we got in, so we’re sitting on the steps. I’m recording some footage of the passing scenery through the transparent door. I recently bought this Chinese GoPro clone online, along with a soft bendy mini-tripod. I’ve been taking them around and recording footage on trips – I’ve got a considerable number of stuff from our recent time at Golden Gate park.
We’re talking about random stuff.
At some point we’re talking about Ivan. I’m telling you about stereotypes people from my tribe in Nigeria have about people from his tribe.
I’m not sure how we got here.
I’m getting nauseous. The hill is getting steeper. The road is getting even more winding.
I feel sick. Now I’m not talking as much. I’m just trying to stay conscious till the bus gets wherever it’s going.
We’re walking through some sort of grassy plain. The ground is largely flat, and the grasses are short.
There’s an installation by the road. It looks like a concrete stub – or maybe a rock. There’s like a plaque on it that says “You’re at soso point along the soso Muir Woods trail“.
You’re telling me about your friends back home. About how sad everyone was that you were leaving for college in the US.
You mention the letters they wrote you – the letters you opened up to read on the plane – you say they made you cry and cry because you missed your friends so much already.
At some point we come across some sort of shrub. It has some strawberry-looking fruits on it.
You pick a few of them and begin to eat.
I’m watching suspiciously.
What the fuck are those. I mean- they look like strawberries, but no way I’m eating some strange-ass fruit I randomly came across in the middle of some unfamiliar forest.
No one grows strawberries in the parts of Nigeria I’m familiar with, and so I honestly cannot tell a legit strawberry from some poisonous ambiguous strawberry-looking semblance of a fruit.
You’re saying something about them being real strawberries- between bites, with your teeth stained red.
I cautiously take some from you, watching for possible signs that you’re about to suddenly drop to the ground.
She seems okay. I should probably take a few bites. Hm.
We’re at a bus stop. A random bus-stop on the way to Muir woods.
There’s no one else here. We’re chatting and teasing and kissing and generally messing around.
At some point I comment about how tiny your feet are compared to mine. I comment that I could probably fit your foot, complete with your entire shoe, into my shoe.
We try it, and to our utter surprise it works. My shoe completely swallows up your foot and your shoe.
We’re laughing, and taking pictures of you and your gigantic shoe.
There’s this Black-American looking guy that recently joined us at the bus-stop. He keeps looking at me strangely, I don’t know why.
We’re at the end of the Muir Woods trail.
We spent some time at a beach. It was interesting.
You said we should throw some coins into the sea. That we’d come back to get them someday.
You said it was something lovers did. Like a custom where you’re from.
It didn’t make any sense to me, but I thought it was exciting nonetheless.
There was a Mexican couple at the beach. Mid-thirties likely. They kept smiling and glancing our way.
Now we’re heading out into some sort of clearing, woozy with excitement from the past couple of hours. We’re to get a bus somewhere close by.
There’s an information board by the footpath, that outlines the bus’s schedule.
We’re staring at it, tired smiles on our faces, ocean waves crashing against the shore in the background.
Hm apparently there’s one more bus that leaves from here this evening.
And it leaves —
Hm hold on, it leaves in —
It leaves in like five minutes!
WHERE IS THE BUS STOP???
WHERE IS THE BUS??
WHERE IS THE FREAKING BUS STOP??
Oh no we’re going to be abandoned in this place.
We’re going to be left here overnight to be devoured by bears.
We’re running frantically in the direction of where the bus should be.
WHERE IS ITTT????
Image: Somewhere in Briones Regional Park, San Francisco.