Saturday, 6 September 2008

06 September 2008

dry stretches leading to Mexican mountains in the south. Then we swung north to the Arizona mountains, Flagstaff, Clifftown. I had a book with me I stole from a Hollywood stall, “Le Grand Meulnes” of Alain-Fournier, but I preferred reading the American landscape as we went along. Every bump, rise and stretch in it mystified my longing. In inky night we crossed New Mexico immersed; at gray dawn it was Dalhart Texas; in the bleak Sunday afternoon we rode through one Oklahoma flat-town after another; at nightfall it was Kansas. The bus roared on. I was going home in October. In Wichita I got off the bus to hit the head. There was a young man in a loud Kansas herringbone suit saying so long to his Minister father. A minute later I saw an eye watching me from a hole in the johnbooth as I sat. A note was slipped through. “I offer you anything on this side if you will put it through.” I caught a glimpse of a loud Kansas herringbone suit through the hole. “No thanks” I said through the hole. What a sad Sunday night for the Kansas minister’s son; what Witchita doldrums. In a small Kansa town a clerk said to me “There’s nothing to do around here.” I looked down the end of the street at the infinite spaces beyond the last tumbleshack. We arrived in St.Louis at noon. I took a walk down by the Mississippi River and watched the logs that came floating from Montana in the North---grand odyssiac logs of our continental dream. Old steamboats with their scrollwork more so scrolled and withered by weathers sat in the mud inhabited by rats. Great clouds of afternoon overtopped the Mississippi Valley. The bus roared through Indiana cornfields that night; the moon illuminated the ghostly gathered husks; it was almost Halloween. I made the acquaintance of a girl and we necked all the way to Indianapolis. She was near sighted. When we got off to eat I had to lead her by the hand to the lunch counter. She bought my meals, my sandwiches were all gone; in exchange I told her long stories. She was coming from Washington State where she spent the summer picking apples. Her home was in an upstate New York Farm. She invited me to come there. We made a date to meet at a New York hotel anyway. She got off at Columbus Ohio and I slept all the way to

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