It’s 12:20 AM Friday morning. I’ve just said goodbye to my bus mates—no, to my friends. It’s a sad occasion. Not like death or even like seeing a child off to college, but there is a weight on me, nonetheless, a stone of sadness. I find it odd that in so short a time, only eight days, I’ve come to enjoy, to care about, and, okay, even to love these people.
Time is a strange commodity. In the middle of an experience, the minutes can stretch out in long, silly putty increments. The ride between Albany and Buffalo, for example, when we were all exhausted and the bus rolled on and on as if we were part of a Twilight Zone episode in which, in the end, we discover that we’re really in hell and doomed to ride the damned bus forever. But sitting here at the desk in my hotel room, with the talk and the laughter and the intimate connection between us so apparent in our last meal together, the eight days seem to have sped by, a breath or two and done.
I don’t know how Atria Books will judge the success of the Great Mystery Bus Tour. I hope that whatever gauge they use, the enterprise rises to the hoped-for mark. In terms of those of us in the trenches—the authors, our “handlers” (the great folks from Atria publicity who facilitated everything), and our phenomenal bus guys—the week was nothing short of stellar. We loved the whole idea, we enjoyed the events immensely, and we were given the gift of each other.
Today, we go our separate ways. That’s life. And I remember the advice my wife often offers me: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Be happy that it ever was.”
From the road, this is my final dispatch.