I’m having trouble staying awake. The sun’s shining in the other side of the train. I realize looking at all my stuff that I’ve developed an obsession with orange somewhere along the line. I have an orange fleece, orange raincoat, orange sleeping bag and orange travel towel all in front of me. Plus I packed two orange t-shirts and a pair of orange plastic sunglasses. If you asked me, I would tell you my favorite color is blue. But now I am not so sure.
This is the sort of thinking that takes place after yay so many hours on the train, lulling along at a peacefully slow pace, the cabin as quiet as a library. It’s just about seventeen hours into the trip- eleven hours remain. No wonder I feel sedated. Or perhaps it’s the Ativan I took at 2:38 in the morning after waking up with painful lower teeth. Now that’s some heavy jaw clenching.
I’m sharing a two seat with a heavy smoker from Portland. I’d hazard a guess he’s about fifty-five, but I’m terrible at guessing once people are out of the single digits. He’s shaved his head and looks like he’s about seven months pregnant. I didn’t ask if he was the second male in Oregon with child. He’s wearing a grey hole-filled t-shirt under a blazer and jeans. I am clenching my jaws again. He just returned to our happy enclave and said, “Are you writing your novel? You’re too young to be writing your memoirs.” I thought about saying, “I’m older than I look” but then thirty three isn’t very old, even if I am old thirty-three, life-experience wise. Plus I just don’t want to have the conversation. Perhaps he’ll go away again for a while. I have my fingers and toes crossed.