Today I cross the carretera, choose the little bus that goes through the village first. I like the little bus best. It’s more simple, more bare bones, has no curtains, no cushions. All the windows are flung open, and kids in their school uniforms chatter and laugh and shout. Older Mexican women get on with their heavy groceries, sometimes only riding for a few blocks along the narrow cobblestone streets. I like being drenched in the bustle. By the time we get back up to the highway again, things have quieted. The after-school flurry is over.
The bus heads west. I breathe in wet earth from last night’s rain. I settle into my seat. I am going again to the next town over, to San Juan Cosolá. The wind blows in, making straight dark hair dance against the backs before me. The driver has the radio up loud, and ranchera music washes around us like the summer air. In the midst of all that is familiar, that for all its foreign-ness has become home to me, I am overcome. It happens to me often on this stretch of road, a kind of Mexican enchantment, I think. But still I am surprised. I am taken by a big burst of joy to be living here in Mexico, joy washed by gratitude that makes my eyes brim.
I look out the window, my throat tight, my heart pushing against my ribs. I watch the hills, a swathe of color on my right. I catch glimpses of the lake in the distance on my left. My mouth is open now, my jaw loose, half taking it all in, half awe. I wonder if part of what overtakes me on these bus rides is that seated on the bus among these dark-headed people, I feel a part of things. We are in this together, this riding on the bus with the air rushing in and the music resonating in our bones. On the bus, I feel like I belong.