The boxes are heavy, their rough rope handles cutting into my palms. A frayed purse weights my weary shoulder. Heat shimmers from the fuel-spotted asphalt, stifling humidity wrapping greedy fingers around my throat. The squat, gray building seems so far away, and my legs are wobbling. Others move ahead of me as we file from the bus into the station. I breathe deeply, lungs filling with roiling air. My head feels light. Detaching itself from my body, it begins to float. Somewhere below are my arms, the boxes, my stumbling feet.
"Ye shall find rest unto your souls," I mumble, half dazed. "Ye shall find rest . . ."
And then the building looms before me. The door opens. My head drifts over the threshold. Distantly I survey the interior. Three people are in line to buy bus tickets; others dot plastic orange chairs as they wait. Two children are squabbling at a vending machine. I try to remember what I am looking for.
The door closes behind me. Air-conditioning slaps my cheeks. I shiver. Numbness chews away my feet, my legs. Vaguely I feel my fingers loosen, the boxes fall away. They hit the dusty tile floor with a clunk. Two women are watching me. I see the questions on their faces, feel their stares.
The world dims. My knees fold. For a time there is only blackness . . .
Muffled voices above me. Faces out of focus.
"Poor child, she's exhausted from the heat."
"And probably hasn't eaten."
"Go get her a candy bar."
Footsteps hurrying away.
The scene undulates, reshaping itself. I am in a cab, then a hotel room. So sterile, heartless. The bed beckons me. I stagger to it and collapse.
The walls close in. I suck air and my throat rattles. "Danny," I whisper. "Kevy."
After all the miles and all the running, the tears finally flow.
"Oh, Danny . . . Danny . . . Kevy . . ."