By Afiq Azman
Afiq Azman is a freelance writer and aspiring filmmaker. He often travels by bus as it is, according to him, a place of solitude and soul searching.
A bus, speeding at 100km/h, a journey 800 km in length, clear weather and seamless traffic; yet it still doesn’t help.
All I can do is just to dream of something unrealistic. Then again, what can you do when you are on an economic express bus heading north, with no entertainment onboard?
At least there is a 3-year old Macbook Pro to keep me accompanied. Still, all I can do is to think of something to write. As milepost after milepost whizz past, words slowly appear on the word document sheet. All the random musings of ambition, regrets, success, failures all typed out in perfect harmony.
I thought I was on a roll.
I thought I had it figured out.
Eight hours of travelling and I have a plan.
A surge of optimism fills the air.
I’m sure I’ll make it big one day.
Six months later, I was back in that same old bus. However, it is not the same optimistic being that took the trip up.
Battered, frustrated, disappointed. I struggled to find a way to distract myself from the absence of stimuli throughout the journey. Again, no on-board amusements; Damn, should have booked a more luxurious coach ticket.
Lucky me, that same old Macbook Pro, the companion that helped figure my life out; it’s in my bag! So, I took it out. With a push of a button, it beams up into life. Random musings around the various folders of memoirs, photos and distractions later, I found something. The plan, that piece of document I wrote back when positive vibes were still running high.
Detail after detail I read through. A heave of regret sets upon my soul. What had happened to that youthful me? Where were the unicorn dreams that you promised yourself to catch?
It looks as though my future was bleak. No sunshine in sight. The haze of confusion has set in, the brain couldn’t find anyway out. All that is well, though is the clear skies that shines through the bus window. Surely there has to be a way out of this.
The bus makes an exit from the highway and into a bus stop. Thirty minutes pause and recharge. First guy of the bus, strolling mode commence. How can I continue living my life now? I’m broke with nothing and all that effort of hustling up north all down the drain. Might as well end it all and live a stable life.
Then, there’s the water fountain. Not elaborate in design but quite simplistic enough for it’s own purpose. Look, a group of children playing, all shouting in joy and glee. Damn, I wished I could be living that life now. But look at me, I’m nearing thirty and I can’t even run. Surely I have my own dues to pay.
All aboard. The bus leaves the rest stop, fully charged up and ready to resume the journey. Endless hectares of palm tree plantations looms into view. As beautiful as it is, it still can’t resolve the insecurities inside.
Why did I even expect my life to be as what I dictate it? Why are my absolute desires left unfulfilled? Insecurity lingers on. What’s the point? Why suffer in the confusion? Where is the pride and joy of living?
Wait. Pride? Hold it there. What have I achieved these past few years? There has to be something worth reminiscing. The trophies from high school, the good friends that I had, the crazy times when youthful rebellion was the in thing to do; well my life was something.
As the sun begin to set, and the city skyline begins to come into view, it appears to me that life itself is a struggle that is never ending. There will be hardships. All the frustrations I had in school. The insecurity of not acing the exams and all that; it all seems so familiar.
And was it worth the fight? I did make some achievements. I had friends who supported me. They were there for me and I miss them. Ever since I packed my bags and headed north, I hardly kept in touch. Not once had I even tried to make the effort.
But the city is lighting up, and I’m nearing home. Familiar sights, familiar sounds. Nostalgia working it’s magic on the fragile little soul. Another beginning, all seems to be set into motion.
I have contacts to re-connect, things to catch-up, rebuilding to do. It all sounds like a great plan. Rome isn’t built in a day. Re-invention and change; that’s something I should embrace.
The bus pulls into the bus terminal; the end of the long journey home. Foot first on familiar soil; good lord, this will be something great.