There’s nothing worse than being sick while travelling. Sure, careening off a ravine in a poorly maintained and possibly flaming Columbian bus would suck but that feeling of helplessness when you're sick can be suffocating. When I was 21 I became so sick I thought I was going to die. Funnily enough, I was on a bus at the time.
I finished my shift working in a night club at 5am and went to the bus terminal. I wasn't feeling the best but there were no chemists open in the vicinity of the bus station. 24-hour food joints that sold desiccated dim-sims? Yes. Chemists? No. By the time the bus reached the town of Warwick I was feverish and shaking. Every bone in my body ached. I rang my mum who told me to buy some paracetamol and to try and get some sleep. I dry-swallowed three tablets and leaned my pillow up against the window.
That’s when the spiders attacked me.
Not real ones, you see, but ones that appeared in my feverish dream. Big thick hairy-legged spiders with protuberant bellies that chattered as they cascaded from the air-conditioning vents down the windows of the bus and onto my face. I remember screaming in my dream. It all seemed so real.
I then felt someone shaking my shoulder. I opened my bleary eyes and saw that the bus had stopped and the driver was asking me if I was okay and if I was on anything. Turns out I wasn’t just screaming in my dream but also in real life. The rear of the bus had emptied. People, in their haste to get away, had knocked over drinks and chip packets. A lady was crying. “No, I’m just really sick” I said to the burly driver.
“Sure. But if you’re a junkie, I’m fucken kickin’ you off, you got that?”
I croaked in the affirmative.
If only there was a ravine nearby.