Saturday, 7 January 2017

The Road to Ruin - Onboard a Night-bus travelling to Welly

Everything blurred about as i left the city, trees, windows, old wheezing
air-conditioning units became one indistinct ray of pale green as I raced away.

The sky outside the motionless night-bus I was climbing into was darker, 
than blackest obsidian rock buried deep within the folds of the earth. 
I left with no regrets speeding away from the bustling viaduct with its 
enclave of seedy bars populated by corporate drunks, either bored, aggressive or bemused.

Together all the travellers onboard the giant bus came from different corners
of the world. They were forced to mingle with overly friendly locals inquiring 
about where they came from and why they had travelled so far, to New Zealand
of all places. As the tourists grappled to find adequate answers in a second 
language we began to move forward, the hefty combustion engine bursting to life gargling
petrol. The engine together with the buses axle lashed the chrome wheels of the bus onward,
first we moved in a low canter then at once a blustering free-spirited gallop drove
flash looking vehicle across the smooth downtown streets. As the chockablock 
bus gained momentum, accelerated and stopped at red lights
we zipped past tall concrete buildings vacant and empty of overworked employees.
In less than ten minutes our urban surroundings melted and morphed outside, 
through the mirror-like windows I saw the noisy city give way to quiet rundown
Auckland suburbs populated with foolishly overpriced houses and limping 
lampposts unlit indifferent to the safety of pedestrians walking late at night. 

Half an hour in my stomach started to somersault like a supremely ungifted male gymnast.
Instantly I  regretted eating far to much Chinese takeaways at the wooden dinner table,
especially when i thought about the long road ahead to windswept long-suffering Wellington
 where my brother Gabriel lived. In some unknown flat nestled high above 
Aro valley in an old house in the wealth infested area of Kelburn, slightly to
upmarket for the encouraged likes of students. Gabe told me where he lived 
tpohutkawa trees loomed over weathered pioneer houses built on sheer cliffs 
overlooking a raging harbour and mystical forest. Pushing aside the painted pictures 
in my head of what Kelburn looked like my mind wandered. Eventually I started 
chuckling while tossing about in my awkward bus bed as I recalled something funny.
I hadn't even left home and my Mother said she was going to miss me as If I was
going to war in a mock-comical fashion.

Truth behold my mother was deeply worried about the earth rattling quakes shaking Wellington.
I knew full well about the dangers involved and look a foolhardy idiot I set out in 
search of adventure. If my heart was destined to fall to its tragic death in unfortunate 
circumstance I was rest assured my soul would always return to linger closely by the side 
of both my parents. While thinking this very thought the bus fell with a great thump into a
gaping pothole causing my thoughts to flashback to the less than satisfying good-bye 
I had called to my youngest brother Charlie in his room instead of hugging him. 
In haste I had marched out our windowed front door worried I was going to miss my ride.
without saying a proper farewell wrapping my arms around his shoulders. I was sure Charlie 
had barely heard me as I shouted down our long echoing corridor. I knew that he was 
busily waging a virtual war against Hungary on his laptop computer and secretly hoped 
I had disrupted him. I could see him now as I layer hunched in the feral position his strong 
back bent over his bright multi-coloured compterscreen, his eyes glued to the events 
unfolding in front of his square eyes as he tapped out orders followed by digital soldiers
at his beck and call. I wish I had told him in an annoying big brother way to clean up
his room, especially his day old pop-corn bowls covered in stale butter that urked
the whole family. Even thought I knew full well he wouldn't, he would've simply grunted 
in reply or worse denied me the use of his ipad
Fully accepting my fate I slowly slunk back deep into the hard bed aboard the night-bus driven 
on in an unrelenting fashion by a somewhat manic kind-hearted driver. The driver a gruff voiced 
fellow called David command us to call him by his name and not the dehumanising title of driver.
He kept rabbiting on about things over the crackling onboard speaker as I started to zone out 
and feel ever so queasy. Again my stomach began to rebel against me in my dis-comfort 
I had to remember why I was travelling across a vast chunk of New Zealand's upper north 
island on a rickety bus. The first reason being of a practical nature was that all the plane
 flights were booked out or too expensive. The flaming bus-ride was an utter rip-off but 
much better value than forking out hundreds of dollars for a one hour flight at short notice. 
The second and infinitely more important reason being that I wanted to celebrate New Years
eve the following night with Gabriel in Wellington. We had organised to hit up a rave near 
Courtney place and true to my word that was what we were going to do. I would also be 
able to see his flat and catch up with his friends that had often travelled up to visit us in
Auckland which was an added bonus. Full of renewed resolve I pretended to recover my
wits and settle in for the long-haul drive through the night. I decisively thought 
without pretending that anything was better than lounging around in Auckland again 
like last year going to same dreary bar with the same hipsters year in year out. 

Queasy or not, I was on the road to ruin and was not turning back for anything 
even more so that I was going to bloody well enjoy it. I read an old text Gabriel 
had sent me telling how he would meet me outside the MacDonald's when I pulled 
up in 9 hours and 45 minutes. Soon enough my younger Brother and I (being the 
oldest of all my siblings) would be revelling in our wonky New Years eve glory like 
drunken knights readying for utter life-ending slaughter. With that thought in mind
I fell asleep, for how long I can't recall, all I do know is that I was having vivid lucid 
dreams about how we would run amuck on the most debauched night of 2016, 
then sacrifice the memories amassed in that hard and testing year on the sacrificial alter of 2017.  

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