When I talk about my bus days, I mainly am talking about Part Two—this part. Starts with: my bus sitting on the back of five acres. These five acres belong to a Japanese corporation, and at the front, there was a house that had been left to stand. Well, friends were staying there (sans permission), and had hooked up electricity. There was a well on the property, for water, and nobody from the corporation was around to notice anything.
After the mess in Part One of the adventure, I was temporarily staying—with cats—in the living room of my ex’s place. No, we hadn’t gotten back together and I had no thoughts of doing so. I just had stayed there during the worst of the winter. That little jaunt ended abruptly when he woke me up one morning by slamming cupboard doors and saying, “I’m getting a gun, nobody’s going to stop me, do you really want to be around when I bring it home?”
Needless to say, I scrambled. I had no reason to doubt that he might take himself out, and maybe me with him. Within three days, the cats and I were back in my bus, freezing our butts off.
It was early March—cold here in the PNW. I had a small space heater, but unless I was standing right in front of it, it wasn’t worth using since the bus had plenty of holes in the floor. I had no bathroom except a Porta Potty (delightfully unpleasant to clean), though I did have a propane range, but no running water. I hauled my water from up near the front of the house—and let me tell you, those five gallon jugs are heavy! To get to my bus, I had to forge my way through a thick patch of overgrown Scotch Broom that towered about eight feet high. In fact, nobody would have ever guessed my bus was back there, in a lovely little grove of trees.
Well, when I moved back into my bus, alone, this time I knew it was for real. The big Let’s-Play-Gypsy fantasy with my ex-GF had turned into a ‘let’s live like a nomad’ adventure for real. I had no safety nets, very little money, and only my inner sense that I was doing what I needed to be doing to comfort me. What I did have, were a lot of wonderful friends and that incredible sense of freedom that you get when you strip away most everything in your life and face the journey alone.
The bus was 32’ on the outside, about 26’ of space inside. The bus had been converted so there was a small booth with seats, a daybed like seat in the front, a small stovetop range (propane) and counter, a half-fridge, which thanks to the jury rigged electricity cable, I could use, a built in closet with shelves, and at the back of the bus, a built in platform for a bed, on which I put an egg crate mattress and a LOT of blankets (as I said, it was damned cold at that point). There were two built in dressers, and built in shelves that ran around the top of the bus to hold books, tapes, etc. The built in bed platform had plenty of space beneath it and that’s where my carefully wrapped boxes of books and the few other things I kept went.
Within a couple weeks, I had my routine down. I’d get up, feed the cats and myself, wander outside and write in my journal for a bit, clean up the bus—I had to keep it immaculate because it was so small. I’d go up to near where the well was and take a cold shower (think BRRR) under the hose, then come back and heat water and wash my hair—I became very proficient at washing my hair with smaller amounts of water.
Since my cats couldn’t stay confined in that small of an area, I had no choice but to let them be indoor-outdoor babies…luckily, where we were at was far enough away from the road that I didn’t worry too much, though I did worry about coyotes and dogs. I’d close the door and put a padlock on it—the cats could squeeze in and out—and I headed down to my friends’ magic shop for the day where I’d hang out and read tarot cards for people, making enough to feed the cats and—barely—myself. Now and then, a friend would show up and drop off a bag of groceries (I never asked, but good friends are good friends), or offer to take me out to dinner, and I overcame my reluctance to accept help. Twice a week, I’d go home with T. & D. and take a long hot bath at their apartment and really scrub my hair. As I said, I made new, wonderful friends and we formed a tight little group and had many great adventures which are other stories entirely.
At night, I’d sit by candle light and read, and then I’d write. Poetry, short stories, beginnings of books…and when I was tired, I’d go outside and sit on a tree trunk, and talk to the moon and talk to the trees, and talk to the gods. I saw a lot of things in that little grove, a lot of creatures and not all of them animal.
Night was another matter. It was scary, I will fully admit that. If some wacko had stumbled on my bus well…nobody would have heard me cry out. So I slept with a hatchet by my head. I figured that I wasn’t ever going to be hit again without a fight. And somehow, the hatchet just seemed…the right thing to take to bed with me. I discovered just how good my reflexes were one night when my friend Rich was staying with me. In the middle of the night, I woke up realizing somebody was in the bed with me. Without thinking, I grabbed the hatchet and raised it…and then looked over and saw Rich, asleep to the world. I slowly lowered the blade, set it on the floor, and decided that when I had sleepover guests, it could stay on the dresser. I never told Rich about the fact that I’d come close to axing him. Not conducive to friendship!
As the months wore on, I slowly began to understand who I was and what I wanted. I realized that I could never compromise myself for anyone again, no matter how hard it got—that I’d lost myself to my ex, trying to become what I thought he wanted, what I thought would make him happy. In fact, I’d never had a chance to really get to know me—ever.
So I made friends with myself. I decided that if someone couldn’t love me for who I was—right there, as I was—then I was better off alone. Alone ceased to become a fearful word, and I valued my solitude that year. Oh, I wanted somebody in my life, but I also knew that it had to be the right person. Male…female…didn’t matter. Just so long as he or she was right for me. I refused to ever take any abuse again.
And then, in late September, everybody on the land got a notice to vacate within three weeks—we’d been found out! I was desperately trying to think of where to move my bus when Rich told me I was more than welcome to move in with him and his roommate. I had met his roommate—Sam—once before and I had the weird feeling that Sam didn’t like me. I told Rich and he reassured me it would be okay and that he wanted me to move in. So I looked at the weather—we were into the rains by then, and decided to accept.
Around this time my precious Meerclar (in her first body/incarnation) passed over the
. She was tired and sick. One day she didn’t come home and I begged the
Lady Bast to send her back, I knew she was dying but I needed to say
goodbye. An hour later, Meerclar (the first)
showed up and I held her in my arms all night, knowing I’d never see her again
once she went outside again. I fell
asleep near dawn and she slipped away, and that was the last I saw of my
Russian Blue girl. In a cruel twist of
fate, my Circe girl vanished the next day—I searched and searched for her, but
found no sign. When I called out to her
on the astral level, I knew she was gone.
Heartbroken, I realized that yes, it was time for Keeter and I to leave
the bus. That part of my life was coming
to an abrupt close. Rainbow Bridge
Shortly before I moved everything out into Rich’s apartment, one of my best buds, Daniela, and I carried out our decision to become blood oath sisters. We were best friends, dear friends, and both she and I had found a deep love for northern magical systems. By then, I had pledged myself to Mielikki and Daniela had pledged herself to Freya. We took a bottle of Captain Morgan, a bottle of champagne, and a few candles out to the firepit on the land that I was staying on. Late at night, on an early October evening, we lit a fire, toasted Pan, and I decided to ask the gods to send me someone to be with who was right for me, and tossed my spell candles in the fire. After that, we started drinking rum (we had a special fondness for the Captain, because he saw us through a lot of good times that year), and finally, when the time was right, we sliced our fingers and became blood-oath honor-bound sisters under the autumn moon. We are still blood-sisters today, though we now live on separate continents, divided by an ocean, living very different lives. Our spiritual paths are still with us, but so much else has changed over the years except we both still love each other.
On a side note, that night was a hoot. We took off for the supermarket, both hungry for steak, afterward, and when we meandered through the store, people kept staring at us. It wasn’t until we caught sight of the mirrored background in the meat department that we realized why. We were covered in soot from the fire, with leaves and twigs stuck to our hair and clothes, and our hands were um…covered with dried blood from our oath-taking. We cracked up and couldn’t stop laughing about it for days.
Anyway, onto the move. I moved out of my bus a couple days later and ended up in Rich’s living room. Well, Sam’s—I hadn’t realized he was the one who held the lease, not Rich. I was supposed to move into Rich’s room but it was so messy that there was no room for me, so I stayed in the living room for a week. All through that week, I noticed that Sam would be watching me from whatever he was doing—be it practicing on his drum pads, reading, or whatever else. I couldn’t figure it out…every time I looked up, he was staring at me. Instead of getting that ‘creepy’ feel, though, I found my pulse racing a bit. Surely he couldn’t be my type? He was analytical, he’d been in the military, he wanted to study math and computers for the gods’ sake. And surely, I couldn’t be his type!
Daniela did a reading for me—this was too close to me for the cards to read true. The lovers card came up, and the 2 of cups and the 9 of cups—love and happiness, and the Empress, and the Wheel of Fortune, I believe. We promptly decided that Sam must think that Rich and I were involved. And we kind of were, but not really (one of those weird relationships that isn’t a relationship).
A week after Keeter and I moved in, Rich went away for the weekend. The first night he was gone, I was looking over some of my poetry. Sam asked me what I was reading and I told him. He said, “Read some to me.” So I said “Pick a number.” (I had numbered my poems in my journal for easy reference).
He picked a number. It happened to be one of my more erotic poems. I didn’t realize it until I started reading and then I couldn’t just stop, so I read it. Sam closed his eyes. He said, “Read me another.” And I did. And then I read him a third and he said, “Stop, I can’t take anymore.”
He laid down on the floor near me, eyes closed, and asked me “What are you thinking?” I couldn’t answer—simply couldn’t open my mouth. By now the tension between us was so strong that I could practically feel his hands on me already. After a moment, during which the only sound was our breathing, he said, “Are you interested in having a relationship with me?”
I was astounded. I’d been ready for him to ask me to sleep with him—and I would have said yes to that. But relationship? My heart spoke before my head and I said “Yes…” And he kissed me…and that night I moved into Sam’s room, two months later he proposed, and we’ve been together ever since.
Tomorrow--over on Fire & Ice--Our Handfasting