I faded in and out of sleep…
When I opened my eyes again, the bus was parked, and everyone was sleeping. I could see faint glowing arches and buildings outside, but it was otherwise completely dark. I had to go to the bathroom, but I didn’t want to wake the driver up to open the door. I tried to rest and be patient.
Almost half an hour later, I heard some movement. When I opened my eyes, the driver and a few other men were standing outside in a circle. DN woke up and noticed the same.
“I’ll be back,” DN said, standing up and exiting the bus.
My need to use the bathroom was becoming urgent. I wanted to wait for him to come back, but I couldn’t wait. I got up and looked for DN. When DN noticed me approaching him, as he stood near a chai shop, he seemed pleasantly surprised. I noticed a flicker of worry in his eyes. It was still very dark.
“Do you want chai?” He asked.
I debated whether or not to have chai, and decided the small shot-glass-sized cup of chai wouldn’t hurt.
I asked DN to scope out the bathroom before the chai was ready, but it was too late. A man handed DN two cups of chai, and he passed one on to me. I sipped on my chai and looked around. The arches were part of an interesting design in, what looked like, a park. The air smelled sweet, and the wee hours of the morning were very quiet.
Beyond the glow of the buildings and park designs, I couldn’t see anything. DN turned to look at the bus.
I finished half of my chai before asking DN to find the bathroom. I handed him my small cup. He pointed and I followed the direction he pointed in, carefully looking around. It was still very dark, but at least my path was lit.
When I made my way back to DN, the driver was ready to leave again. I abandoned the rest of my not-so-yummy chai and climbed back on the bus.
I traded DN places, and took the seat by the window. I started to relax…
DN pulled out his phone, staring at it and poking it.
“What are you doing?” I asked, knowing he probably didn’t have signal.
“I’m trying to see where we are…” DN replied, somehow managing to find signal and look at our GPS location.
He looked over, on the opposite side of the street and into the darkness.
“That’s a jungle.”
My eyes widened as I glanced into the completely dark mass on the other side of the road. It was too dark to notice a jungle beside us..!
I started imagining exotic animals hunting us while we sipped our chai outside, near the bus.
The driver began our journey again, and I faded in and out of sleep.
At one point I woke up to DN, who sounded excited.
“Hey, look, a baby elephant!”
I searched with tired eyes, and the morning was still young. It was a bit dark still and I never got to see the baby elephant.
I fell asleep again, quickly, after that.
Our next stop was the India-Nepal border. Sunauli.