The next section in my writing in the round experiment. You can read the others here (section 1, section 2, section 3).
Sebastian had no idea how far he had walked or, more importantly, how much farther still he had to go. He had underestimated the limitations of the earthbound and the tedium of simply getting around.
Determined not to wallow in self-pity, Sebastian set his mind on Lana and resolved to walk as long and as far as he needed to be at her side.
Mercifully, a van pulled over just ahead of him. The window rolled down.
“Need a ride?” the woman asked.
Sebastian nodded. Grateful for the chance to be off his feet.
The woman looked him up and down, trying to second measure this man before letting him into her van.
“Hope in,” she said, pushing open the door. “Name’s Frieda.” She extended her hand as he got in. She half shook, half pulled him into the seat. “Don’t try any funny business,” she told him with great sincerity, patting the saddle bag beside her seat.
Frieda eased the van back onto the road. There was little traffic. She glanced over a few times, trying to figure Sebastian out.
“Where you headed?”
“I need to find Lana.”
“Okay. Where does she live?”
Sebastian did not, could not answer.
“Do you have an address?”
Sebastian was silent, cursing himself for another small oversight. He had been walking with the sole intent of getting into the same city with Lana. He realized now that he had no idea where in the city she actually lived. He had always come to her from above.
He shook his head.
“You could call her. Do you have her phone number?”
Again, Sebastian shook his head.
“What’s your name?”
“You can call me Sebastian.”
“Nice. You’re not from around here.” She looked at his muscular physique, his curly black hair. “You visiting from somewhere in Europe? You Italian? Greek?”
“Something like that,” he said.
“Who is this Lana? She your girlfriend?”
“Lana is everything to me.”
Frieda laughed. “Spoken like a man who is about to get laid. You Europeans have it all figured out.”
Sebastian smiled in the indulgent, shy way of a person who understands enough not to be offended but not enough to really participate in the humor.
“So how do we find this Lana of yours? I’m heading into the center of town. Does she live uptown or downtown.”
Sebastian looked at his hands. When he had visited her before, it was always dropping down through a myriad of tall, nonspecific buildings called apartments. Tall brick structures – taller than trees, shorter than the sky.
“She lives in an apartment building,” he said, knowing that much information would not be enough.
Frieda looked over Sebastian again, scrutinizing him to tell if he was for real. “Okay. I’ll take you into the city,”she told him. “From there you’re gonna be on your own.”
“Fair enough,” Sebastian said. “Thank you.”
They drove in silence. The late night streets were mostly empty, only the occasional car passing along the road with them. The lights of the city shone ahead, grew larger and brighter as they approached. And the road widened into more lanes and Sebastian considered how like arteries this passage was. Small vessels carried along routes that connected with other routes to form intricate arteries and, every so often, they would pass under a bridge where the roads looped and wove together like aorta. They were passing into the heart. This was something Sebastian understood very well. In all of human geography, he understood the heart and its construction the very best.
Sebastian thought of Lana. Wondered what she was doing right now. Perhaps sleeping, dreaming in the bed they had shared together those two nights. Perhaps not sleeping, perhaps her thoughts carried her far away from sleeping and she sat at the window of her bedroom, peering out the window, watching the sky for the return of the creature she called her Superman. Either way, they would soon be together.
He looked out the window, searching for some familiar landmarks, though everything looked so different seen from this level. Patience was required. If he had enough patience, he would find Lana in good time.
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