Sitting in a coach bus — “the nicest I’ve ever seen,” says Christina — my relphil reading on my lap in front of me, wearing sleek purple-blue Nordic gear up top down to ugly sweatpants and boots below, listening to quiet music through my headphones, the world races by the window. We’re on a highway, so most of the time it’s just woods with the occasional small house peaking through. But we cross a bridge over the Merrimack River and suddenly the view changes, opens up a bit: a sliver of the world, just big enough to hint at its largeness, its infintesimal complexity. It’s a sight I’ve seen a few times on Cross Country bus rides and Cycling rallywagon ones. It’s a feeling I felt regularly growing up, each weekend traveling dozens of miles on a highway going to skiing or piano lessons, or Chinese School, or a gathering with family friends. We pass through little hill towns. Libraries, churches, office buildings peak up above the trees, the slightly elevated highway we are on giving a sense at once of the town’s enclosing smallness and thorough completeness. Each week I saw this entire world go by my window, yet I knew and still know nothing about it, and probably never will.
At the same time, there’s a whole world inside the window. On the bus, my friends, my work, my team, my sport. In the car, my mom, my dad, my sister, a rare friend, one or two at a time or all at once. Each a unique atmosphere, deep relationships that make up my self, distinct emotions and experiences.
Originally written on January 29, 2020. Edited and posted on February 13, 2020.