The driver opens the window and spits into the wind. As we take the corners, the air brakes whine like a child and the bus trundles on along the two-track highway of Nova Scotia. Birch trees, pine trees, rocks, water and sky. The seat behind the driver is stacked with parcels and packages that he drops off at the IRVING gas stations spaced every half hour or so along the route. Occasionally there is a person as well as a package – a Japanese tourist, an old couple in nylon, a lad in combat and baseball cap. The road loops between the ocean and the forest – coming back to meet the water at little rocky bays and river mouths. The names on the passing traffic signs seem like scattered refractions of Europe: Dartmouth, Yarmouth, Bedford, le Havre, East Berlin,West Berlin, Lunenburg – a lonely coast sprinkled with names by other homesick wanderers.
The daylight fades and soon the bus rides in total darkness. The only lights are the dials on the driver’s dashboard and our headlights sweeping through the white trunks of the trees ahead. Finally the driver tells me that I have arrived in Liverpool – another IRVING gas station and a few retail outlets at a junction in the road. The driver opens the side of the coach and I heave out my bag. I ask him for Lane’s Hotel and he points into the darkness – “down the hill, just before the bridge”. I wheel my bag through the night until the pavement begins and I can see the lights of a small town.