Busking into Town: Self-Care Story Series Part Three

Series by Student Ambassador Kate Brock

Busking into Town

Today the bus does not come. They strike for fairness, something I cannot begrudge them. The workers deliver a service day in and out, and I can’t help but think about the monotony of it. How they never crash. I wish my life were like that. Familiar and never devastating.

The time it takes to walk to campus is somewhere around forty-five minutes to an hour depending on your pace, leg length, stride width, and gait. On a bad day, when it rains sideways and the groceries hunker and hug your shoulders, it might take longer. You may arrive home without a dry inch on your body. Lovely as ever. Tearing at your clothes, you strip away all that weight and water, and you weep. You carried it all alone back then.

Today, however, it is not raining. The clouds streak across the sky, naked and pale. I lift shoulders upwards and tiptoe around the shards of a bottle. No, those are flower petals. They look like milk glass, slick with last night’s dew.

Last week, my counselor asked that I take notes on “the little things more often.” The walk to university offers that option. The bus cannot speed me along, so I’ve cause to look at things, really look at them.

I march on as the voices vie for attention.

You need to walk slower. You’re supposed to be “witness” to the world, one says.

You’ll be late if you don’t move it, the other squawks.

I beat the pavement with my soles. Perhaps if I wrap my heels on the ground too hard, I can beat the voices in my head into submission. After a moment, they go quiet just as Hozier’s crooning invades. A disembodied tune, I mouth the words I know. A few people pass me and stare, but I ignore them.

After a few minutes and meters, I find the vines on the rock wall that lumbers into town are blooming with thin purple buds. There are dandelions along the path, shoving their sunny heads through the cracks, willing the concrete to move so that they might stretch their arms wide and high. The homes along the way are connected to one another like sisters huddled in mismatching turquoise and teal coats. The windows are cracked a hair and the trim and sills are painted yellow.

I don’t believe that I often look up from my seat on the bus. Otherwise I would have seen that the same woman lets her dog out at 10:30 each day. I would have noticed that the OPEN sign on The Bike Shed’s façade flickers in a funny way, ill-timed and ill-mannered, its winking construed as mild flirtation. I might have wondered about the hospital beds at Bon Secours and what colors the sheets are: enamel or pearl white?

It’s the walk that reassures me of creativity. All the fear and frustration of workshopping my poems is a gamble, but I don’t feel the strain as my legs stretch forward. My muscles pull me in the direction of word work, pure and simple.

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