Friday, November 04, 2005

taxi

what a coward you are! i mutter to myself, and adjust the straps of the backpack a tad too firmly. anything to bolster courage. and for anonymity, i put my dark glasses on, not realizing that i am the outsider here. i try to not notice that my hands are shaking.

i pretend to be calm but fail. my backpack feels heavier than it really is. fear has now rolled to the bottom of my stomach, coiled and ready to strike when i am least expecting it.

enough! i tell myself. get on with it.

there is only one taxi left. and it is as ancient as the owner whose rusty grin reminds me of one last crutch that has accompanied me here. will i need it?

i wave the paper with the address of the monastery at him. he nods his head as if to say where else?!

he motions me inside the cab with a wide sweep of his arms. i thrust the backpack in, before it could change its mind about traveling in that bunch of tin held together with duct tape. after checking for broken springs, i sit down gingerly. The driver kicks the door shut.

he settles into his seat but not before he has trained the broken rear-view mirror on me. i stifle the childish urge to stick my tongue out at him. there is a loud explosion as he turns the ignition. the engine comes to life after belching out a huge cloud of smoke.

i begin giggling. have not visualized going up in smoke like that. but thankfully the taxi begins to lurch forward. if they are following me, that explosion would either put them off the chase forever, or point directly in my direction.

as has become my habit, i look back often and sit low in the seat. have watched too many car chases in the movies. have been in a few myself, and traveling like this makes eminent sense. slowly but surely we leave the dusty town behind. and no one seems to be following us.

the creaks and the groans of the cab seem to follow a familiar pattern now. accompanied by the odd swaying motion of the cab, the noises begin to play a bizarre lullaby in my head. the heat also weighs heavily on my eyes, and i am quite happy to slowly sink into sleep. sleep? me? but i am not thinking. i am just relieved to have made that getaway.

the monastery seems to be a long way off.

1 Comments:

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