date: friday the 13th, april 2012.
time: 11.23 pm.
location: somewhere between indianapolis and evergreen.
the bus seats were the kind that looked deceptively comfy, but after a while of travelling they made your ass feel like a numb pancake. they were covered in a carpet-like fabric that needed a clean- as did the bus floor- but sid wasn't exactly fussy right now. it was late, he was tired and his feet felt liable to swell up into sausages that would refuse to extract themselves from his scuffed doc marten boots. not that that had ever happened to him before, but they ached, the soles of his feet seeming to throb with every heartbeat. that was how he knew tonight had been good- he hurt, in numerous places. not as much as he would after a show back home, but he'd shown those kids back there a thing or two.
the venue was seemingly a converted theatre which had been turned into a middling-size concert hall. it was big enough to have a bar and an overhanging seating area, but not so big that famous bands would play there. it seemed to be strictly a local bands and pre-recorded music place. it suited sid just fine that way. whoever was choosing the music that night had picked a good mix- there'd been everything from sid's much-loved black sabbath to the sex pistols to elvis, so everyone seemed pretty happy. and if there was a song you didn't like, you could go get a drink and chill out. since it was just a dj set, there was no assigned seating- you could go sit up on the balcony and then go downstairs to dance or mosh or just stand with your arms folded and nod. sid was not a nodder. he'd spent too long fronting bands to spend time looking unenthusiastic at any kind of gig. looking back, he could remember how it'd felt to see even one person looking unenthused on purpose. he'd smile or go do something else if he wasn't into the song- none of this effort to look cool that seemed to be the main aim of the people who didn't want to look like they were having fun.
either way, it'd been a good night. the music had been loud and he'd met a few friendly folks. they'd mainly been attracted by his tattoos, apparently. he'd revelled in the freedom of not having to cover his arms- he'd been in long sleeves since he'd arrived in evergreen. teaching meant he was easily worn out, so when he got home he tended to laze about or work on his lesson plans. he saved his thesis work for the weekends, when he could lie in and then laze around and write all he wanted. having his ink on show felt like a breath of fresh air, like he was free from evergreen for a little while. the town was way more stifling than he'd thought it'd be. he'd anticipated... some kind of alternative scene. even if it was three dudes in a garage, he'd have found it. but there was nothing. the town was crazy. it was like it was made of plastic. everyone he saw was perfect- women with glowing skin and gently tousled hair everywhere, men with abs like rocks and chiselled jaws escorting their brides-to-be or perfect families in and out of the stores or to the park. it made sid feel a little put-off. he wasn't like those guys. he didn't look like a disney prince smooshed with an action hero. sid was more of a... sidekick, there to make the hero look better and too good-hearted not to complain that he never got anything worthwhile out of the deal. and then he'd realised something that just made him feel worse about his impending engagement to a stranger- that he wasn't what she'd expect. after being in this town of hero-lookalikes, what would she think of a green-eyed man with a stubbly chin and apologetic smile? and not in a sexy sense. sid was never the pretty guy. he was the nice guy, the few girlfriends he's had grew to like him for his personality rather than his face. he kind of liked that aspect of it, though- it made any relationship seem much more genuine.
he sighed and stretched, the mostly-empty bus creaking slightly as it wound it's way towards evergreen. it took a winding route, likely because the bus company assumed that folks from evergreen weren't likely to be travelling into there in the dead of night. it was a very... self-contained community. sid supposed he'd just have to learn to live with it. he stretched again, pushing up the sleeves of his hoodie, his wrists and their embellishments coming into view. he let one hand hang over his armrest, into the aisle, the other pushing his slightly sweaty hair back from his face before he turned his wrist over, examining the tattoo
he'd had done just before leaving. it was an x-shape, three inches long or so, with the letters D, S, O and L in the spaces between the spokes of the x. it stood for dead set on living, a resolution he'd made before he'd gotten to evergreen- to get the life he'd wanted with a family and all one day. he smiled to himself, eyes crinkling at the corners, running his thumb over the slightly raised lines. he'd just... have to keep remembering the message of it and try to abide by it.