After a month of let downs and dead ends, amid a torrential thunderstorm I jumped the train in Santa Fe and headed south. Casually chatting with a handsome, yet intoxicated ex-service man of the Bagdad conflict now riding the rails to San Antone as a wayward tramp (he casually lifts his pant leg to reveal a gunshot wound from a hobo camp skirmish the evening prior. The leg is bandaged with a dirty rag), the vast prairies and Indian adobes slink by under the intermittent flash of gray mottled skies.
I debark in Albuquerque once again and wait in the vast echoing hall of the station amid the insane and the destitute of fellow travelers. Board the Greyhound and hunker down for the long night trip to Yuma. The journey is uneventful and equally uncomfortable. No matter how ‘modern’ the line upgrades their carriages – wifi, electrical outlets, new faux leather seats – it does not ever comfort the moaning pain of the despairing excursion.
Outside the rattling window, pine trees turn to shrubs, shrubs to cactus as we meander down through the lonesome Southwest towards the golden aura of the Mexican border. The sky abruptly transforms from dark grey to brilliant blue, the temperature from numbing cold to torrid heat. Through Gallup and their isolated donut shop, through Flagstaff and Gila Bend, Phoenix and Tucson – the trip is unbearably long.
We hit Yuma, Arizona by afternoon and to my surprise I am not let off at the station I remembered, but a brand new sprawling mega mall. I hail a taxi to my hotel on the other side of town. The hotel is inexpensive, but comfortable. I idle a couple of days, lounging by the pool sipping coffee and smoking cigarettes joking with friends online in lieu of resting before my next disaster of misfortune and ill decision. Tomorrow I will seek out the Crossroads Mission and reside there while I again attempt to seek what I need in public housing and medical attention.
However, I attain positive feelings of this town…the constant warmth, the small size, the Mexican border with San Luis pueblo just waiting on the other side to explore…the nearby military base and the one gay bar I am certain the service men frequent…I think this might be the place I have been looking for…