The Journey: 1 (The Beginning)
The bus was old and rusty, the yellow paint long painted over and the new color heavily oxidized. A stove pipe stuck out on one side indicating there was some sort of a wood burner inside, and some of the windows were curtained with moth eaten fabric.
In another lifetime it had taken children to school and faintly on the front, above the windshield, could be seen the words “School Bus.”
Summer looked at her husband, her brow crinkling. “Tell me again why you bought this relic.”
Jeff rubbed his hands together, trying to warm them against the cold. “We could live in it.” He pointed around them where the sky was heavy gray, and close. “You’re always saying you hate winter here. We could travel.”
Summer just stared at him. It was true she dreaded the coming cold. Northern Wisconsin could get bitter, and snow might be three feet deep. But she had imagined moving to someplace warm, like San Diego, and living in an adobe house with an avocado tree growing in the yard. “How do you propose we pay for this vagabond lifestyle?”
Jeff was midlevel management at a local bank and she had a job in a shop on Main Street in their small town. They didn’t make a lot of money, nor did they have much in savings. Having two kids kept them living nearly paycheck to paycheck. Jeff just shrugged. “I thought we could travel around to art shows and sell your paintings.”
Summer sighed. She loved to paint but there wasn’t much market for surrealistic Steampunk, Neo-Hippie canvases. Jeff was her champion and believed in her but in this case he might be a little unrealistic. “You might as well show me the inside,” she said reluctantly.
The interior was even worse. Mice and other critters had nested in the cushions and the carpentry was dubious. “Before you get all worked up,” he warned, “I have a plan.”
He was obviously really excited about the bus, and as he marched up and down the length of it, pointing out different features, something wild grew in her heart, something crazy and defiant and trusting.
“The best part,” he finally said, stopping in front of her and taking her hands, “is that if you paint the whole outside of the bus it will be a rolling advertisement for your art.”
She stepped closer and grinned up into his face. “Let’s do it,” she whispered back.