He stood before a single tree in the middle of a barren wasteland. Shajart-al-Hayat, the Tree of Life. The only tree around and it had been growing here since before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. He snapped a few pictures and looked at the graffiti people had carved into the bark. He sighed.
The sun beat down on them in the desert. There was unlikely to be anything besides a hot day here. He took off his safari hat to wipe the sweat from his head with his handkerchief.
The hood of the bus was propped up with a length from an old broom handle. Steam that had earlier been roaring out of the much abused and rusted conveyance had calmed itself to a warbling hiss. There were no dust cloud telltales on the horizon. He sighed again. No one was coming for them. Not yet.
Some of the other tourists argued with the bus driver in Arabic. He knew that they swore at each other, though he didn’t pay them much attention.
It was going to be a long, hot afternoon. He looked up. Not a cloud in the sky. I made it, he thought. I am here at the Tree of Life. He pulled out a small spiral notepad from his shirt pocket and a stubby, paint worn pencil. The pad had a glossy hot pink cover upon which was boldly written the words “Miriam’s Bucket List”. He flipped through the crinkled oft-turned pages and found the one he was looking for. He checked the line with the stub pencil, then put both the notepad and pencil back in his pocket.
The argument by the bus erupted in louder shouting. A woman was leaning over and giving her daughter a sip of water from a plastic bottle. He sat down on a rock and waited.
Copyright © 2014 – Eric Schweitz