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August 20 - Day 105

Problem. I missed the early bus. I won't be leaving until this evening. I need to scrounge up a box for the bike, and it sounds like it's going to be expensive. C'est la vie. I just want to get going home!

Just as the beginning of this trip was full of firsts, so the end is full of lasts. This is he last town I'll be in for any length of time that I'm not familiar with. Waiting at bus stations along the way doesn't count. So I decided to explore the town while I had a chance.

The first thing that caught my eye was an eXTREMELY unusually name hair salon: Curl Up and Dye. Now that's kinda morbid.

Here's another: Blue & White Taxi and Ambulance Service

There is a girl here at Ma and Pa's, their granddaughter, Christina. She is 9, and she is remarkable. She is definitely NOT an average kid. She writes at least two grade levels higher than she should, and can hold a conversation like an adult. When she talks, you see that special spark of true intelligence, that she is always thinking. Most kids her age I've talked to are, sad to say, act like they're half asleep. Their brains work in slow motion, you can tell. But Christina is sharp. She could amount to a lot someday. I only hope she realizes it.

Turns out I'm stuck here for another day. Figures. Won't be leaving until 7:40 tomorrow. Good thing these people are so excessively nice! I hate to impose, but to them it's no imposition. I'm more than a guest, I'm practically family! I just hope that my idea about a dead son about my age isn't correct... that would be creepy.

At 10:30 I hear fire engines. Three of them. We later noticed a massive plumb of smoke and flames from up the street. A house, apparently unoccupied, had caught on fire. What I noticed more than the house however, was the immense traffic, both pedestrian and auto. Quite a large number of gawkers standing around. Personally, I just inspected the scene and returned to the house.

Very tired.

August 21 - Day 106

Was woken up at 6am. Had a small breakfast with Pa (for the record I call them Ma and Pa because that's what they call each other), and talked for over an hour about this and that. Then I was off to the bus stop. It stops at the Best Western just up the hill here.

It's strange, but this place has come to feel like home to me (a slightly creepy home because of all the religious paraphanalia lying around, not my style), and I'm almost sorry to see it go. As for Christina, I wish I was a millionaire and could give her some kind of trust fund for further education. She has more potential than any other kid I've talked to across the country. But her mother and grandparents are good people, so that at least bodes well. It would be a shame to see such potential wasted.

Ma wasn't awake, so I couldn't say goodbye to her. However, I left her my usual poem (I didn't the first time, anticipating my return here) as a small token of thanks.

At 7:40, I'm on the bus. Here is the route I will take:

North Sydney to Truro

Truro to Amherst

Amherst to Moncton

Moncton to Edmundston

Edmundston to Riviere du Loup

Riviere du Loup to Montreal

Montreal to Toronto

Total time: 30 hours.

And to think it took me over three weeks to cover the same ground by bike!

I think I'm going to have to pick up a book somewhere.

Fate works in mysterious ways. It just occurred to me, if I had decided to bike all the way to North Sydney instead of hitching a ride to catch the Wednesday ferry, I would have been on the same ferry as Ilan and Shannon. I would have reached St. John's with them, and it might have made an even better ending for my journey. I suppose I should have listened to my writer's instincts, instead of my desire to end things quickly.

All these comments I've made in the past about how when something bad happens something good soon works everything out, about how I don't believe in fate, but some of the events that occur lately truly make me wonder, I just had an alternate take on it all.

I'm starting to think I'm caught up in a real life role playing game. For much of this trip, things almost feel scripted out, planned ahead of time (for example, I managed to get an interview with a fisherman yesterday, almost by accident, it was the only occupation left that I really wanted to do, and had eluded me right up to St. John's, and a survey in the Maritimes wouldn't be complete without one). And if I go against the grain of what might have been intended (see above about Ilan and Shannon) then things will still play themselves out, but with delays (it took me quite a while to get my ride in N.S., as if the Game Master had to think about what to do next, and set things in motion to get the right NPC there for me). Then, as if to tell me I should have went along with the hints being given, I'm shown what might have happened if I had went along (Ilan and Shannon). It's like the Game master is showing me bits of the adventure, and possible alternate outcomes.



August 22 - Day 107

I wake up just outside Montreal. It's a great looking city, I'll give it that. However, I then have a few snags. My luggage was sent to Quebec City instead (mostly North Sydney's fault, partly my fault, I didn't check the tag they gave me). So now that has to be sent to Toronto without me, they'll call when it arrives.

Then I saw a different side to this station. I walk down the hall and see a small drug needle on the floor. I, stupidly, pick it up (at the base, nowhere near the point) and place it on a garbage can so that nobody steps on it. I was going to tell security, but they already saw it, and they took much more care than I did to dispose it. Still, it was a gut reaction, I just thought about getting it out of possible harms way, and make it easy to collect by the proper personnel.

Then by the pay phone, I see a janitor cleaning up a HUGE fresh puddle of urine. This pay phone is right beside the bathroom, for crying out loud! I wouldn't doubt it if the two incidents are related.

Anyways, now I have to go to Lost and Found to arrange my luggage to be sent to the proper city.

Swell.

I'm arriving in Toronto as I write this, and it occurs to me, I am not home yet. I'll be staying here for two weeks, and I'll feel welcome in Wyatt's place, but not like I am home yet.

When I get to B.C., I'm willing to bet money that I'll be whisked to Chilliwack first for a stay with dad and Tracy. That place has long felt like a home away from home, but always in a temporary sense. Perhaps instead of going straight back to Victoria after that, I'll have to spend a few days in Seashelt with Gillian's parents, again in a home I've visited many times, but am always only a guest of. Even when I return to Victoria, I will not feel at home. Because while I was gone, Gillian moved into a different apartment. It is nicer and larger, but totally alien to me since I have never seen it. I bet nothing of mine except my computer is visible. Probably all in storage.

So, for a while, I am a man without a home. Staying in the good graces of family and friends from place to place until I return to Victoria, at which time I will have to settle in, and make some portion of the space familiar to me, and eventually, in a couple days, or maybe a couple weeks, I'll feel like I have a home again.



Onto Epilogue...