Martin danced around an exhausted bonfire. Gatherers were asleep in the meadow or finishing cigarettes before tasting filter. The empty keg had become a stool to hang ribbons from a slouching tree. He bounced on one foot until he lost balance, collapsing ceremoniously in the dirt. The fire turned to embers; the only glow left in the meadow came from a string of lights attached to the bus with no wheels.
“I should climb down a mountain by moonlight with wings on,” Cassidy said as she laid down beside him.
They were making a documentary about the American Robin. Migration occurs not because of cold weather, but because winter cannot provide the abundance of food the robin needs to survive, she told him. She was fascinated by the robin’s ability to navigate not only the sun during the day, but by the moon and stars at night. She compared its intrinsic night navigation to a soul searcher on an expedition to nourish lost spirituality.
When he woke, Cassidy was gone. The only remnants of the gathering hung from the ribbon tree. The string of lights were stripped from the bus—taking its powers away—its stories muted and lost in a web of weeds. He hopped onto the bus and felt the world unfolding. His eyes bent the trees; only sky remained. He felt the bus slide on its skeleton and rise from the earth, its shell a vibrant yellow and its innards an elaborate circuitry. The engine fluttered and new wheels emerged, spinning him down the hill like life without brakes.
Martin set out to revive the vehicle bankrupt of breath. When work bled into night, he built a fire and sat in contemplation of the galaxy. He thought of the robin, migrating south where food was abundant, following the celestial highway as its guide.
Cassidy finished her wings. They hiked until they reached a peak impersonating the summit. The moon dangled behind them as if someone had hung it there. As she flapped her wings, he envisioned a hand as big as the earth coming down and sculpting the mountains from a flat landscape, drawing a line in the valley below where a stream could flow. He saw Man formed from clouds, and everything else succeeding it as a departure from intention.
The restoration was complete. The bus was beauty out of place, like a cactus in a rainstorm. A woman approached, earrings big enough to fit through, hair wild and untamed, her dress a kaleidoscope unhinged. She chewed on a honey stick and spoke with her hands.
“That school bus don’t run,” she said.
“Depends on how you look at it,” he replied.
“It may look pretty, but it got no wheels. What you gonna to do with a bus that don’t move?”
He invited her inside. They shared stories about life below the surface of things. More came and soon the bus was full. It started to snow, and no one was hungry.
"He hopped onto the bus and felt the world unfolding. His eyes bent the trees; only sky remained. He felt the bus slide on its skeleton and rise from the earth, its shell a vibrant yellow and its innards an elaborate circuitry. The engine fluttered and new wheels emerged, spinning him down the hill like life without brakes."