Ch. 5- Traveling, Past and Present
Naples was a city of constant motion, people crammed onto the sidewalk, shuffling through the crowds heading to or from work, or stopping at little restaurants that lined the cobblestone streets. The buildings all seem to have been built in the same way; tall and overpowering, seeming to attempt to swallow the streets below. The lofty walls of the buildings made the straight and narrow street go on forever, making commuters feel like they were getting nowhere. The style was constant throughout the city, even in the poorer areas. The only difference an average onlooker could see between the slums and the wealth areas were the age and wear of the buildings. If one looked harder though, they could see the danger of the slums. There was graffiti of lude references plastered on the buildings, next to the gang signs marking their respective areas. Every few alleyways, there was blood stains, hidden in dark corners behind dumpsters. All the signs screamed stay away, but she ignored them. She had to get somewhere.
About every ten blocks or so, there was a bus stop, with an old bus ready to pick passengers up every hour or so. It was currently 9:55, and she was a block away. She left the cheap motel she rented for the previous night at exactly fifteen till ten, not wanting to spent much time standing alone at a bus stop in the bad part of town. Arriving with exactly two minutes left, she leaned against the side of the bench, not sitting down. Who knows what happened on that bench. The bus finally arrived and she stepped on and, after a quick analyzation, she sat three rows from the front, right behind the driver. This was the best spot to keep him from seeing her face, was still close enough to the door for a fast exit, and allowed her an easy view at any other passenger that walks on, giving her time to assess if they were dangerous. She didn't know why she did it, but it almost came unconsciously. She tried to disobey her instinct on the last bus she was on, but that made her so inwardly nervous and tense that she had to get off. This bus ride was relaxingly uneventful, dropping her off at the train station, where she boarded the last train for the night heading north. It was scheduled to stop in Zurich, after passing by Florence and Milan, exactly where she wanted to stop.
She sat in the train compartment, with only the rhythmic rotation of the wheels beneath her as the only interruption of the silence. Blocking out the world and all of its troubles, she left her mind open, hoping that something from her past would fill the gap. She ignored the pounding headache, the burning of her healing side and shoulder, the panic of knowing nothing about herself, the feeling of scrambling in the dark, looking for a shred of light that was a memory, and she started to hum. Her mind filled with a soft piano, contrasting with everything she remembers. The smooth voice of a singer opened, covering the piano part with a deeper, emotional tone. The voice sang of a lost, seemingly unthoughtful man out on his own, with a friend asking them to come to their senses and realize that too much is hurtful to themselves and the people around them. Light violins sprang up, adding more tones to the soft and deep chords of the piece. He sang of wanting to fill a void, a gap that was left open because of his mistakes with others, but ultimately not being able to fill that gap with the physical world, because it was an emotional one. The next lyrical shocked her to the core, because it was accompanied by a vision of her past, along with a wave of emotions.
They were driving down an empty highway, him in the driver's seat and her next to him with her feet propped up on the dashboard. The sweet, soft, memorable song filtered through the radio, with them singing along, smiling. "And freedom, oh freedom, well that's just some people talkin'! You're prison is walkin' through this road all alone!" They were horribly out of tune with the voice, but they ignored the rest as they looked at each other and started laughing. She couldn't remember any more of the moment or the song, causing her to focus back onto reality. A soft smile graced her lips while her eyes watered up. She had nothing to verify it, but she felt like that was one of her best memories, before she lost them all. She held onto the face of the man, knowing that she'd seen it but not knowing who it belonged to. It was the smiling man, who told her about the bank. The train kept rolling past the landscape, with her staring out the window, seeing the sloping mountains and the dark sky beyond and the bright sunlight just outside the car, listening to the melody that was only in her head.