I didn’t start out to be a liar. I had been in college when my boyfriend returned to New England, from California, partway through the semester. I went from having a high GPA at midterm to reaching the depth of point something, something, something at semester’s end. Academic probation was my immediate future. The family profession is education. You can only imagine a fraction of the disappointment. Formal education is an exercise in tenacity, not a virtue. Adventure summoned.
I had missed class in the name of love. At the end of the scallop season my diving boyfriend moved to New Orleans to work in the offshore oilfield. I moved to another town and got an apartment and a job, pining away all the while. While there was communication between us, life was at a standstill. So I lied.
I said that I was moving to Florida with some of my college friends. It didn’t seem productive for us to keep in touch. He called my mother. My mother called me. He called me. I took a Greyhound bus to New Orleans. I stopped for 3 days in NYC to visit my aunt, who lived with her husband near Harlem while he got his PhD at Columbia. Blah, blah, blah, “wasted potential” blah, blah, blah.
As we drove south, more and more black patrons boarded the bus. It was exciting and I loved it. In Charleston, I was brushing my teeth in the depot restroom. A crazy woman shrieked at me, “Stop brushing my teeth! Don’t brush my teeth no more! Stop now, ya hear?!” I stopped.
Outside Pensacola, I began to notice signs for PoBoys; I wondered what they were.