Steve stood in a short line at the bus station with a duffel bag in hand waiting to buy a ticket to Indianapolis.
Bus rides are lonely, monotonous, trying, and smelly. The stench from human perspiration is somehow multiplied by a bus ride. Steve found an empty seat with no one next to him and prayed no one got on the bus to fill it. A couple of weeks earlier he could hardly stand himself. Now he was showered and clean shaven.
There are oddities about every bus ride; people who seem to have no destination except for as far as a ticket will allow them. He wondered how many were like him; looking for that one clue or spark that ignites the memories.
After an hour ride the bus pulled into a small gas station in the middle of corn fields. A young Amish man boarded and made his way back the aisle and sat next to Steve.
Steve toyed with the idea of telling the young man he was a devil worshipper hoping to drive him to another seat.
Steve turned away as the bus slowly moved onto the highway and left the gas station behind. “Amish don’t us deodorant,” Steve thought, “but on the other hand I may have turned toward my own stench.” Steve ducked his head toward his armpits and took a deep breath through his nose. “It’s the Amish guy,” he thought.
“Could I interest you in a sandwich?” the young man said.
Steve turned to him and he was holding a sandwich out toward him
“I’m fine,” Steve said. “I’ll have something at the next stop.”
“My mother made too much,” he said. “And I just want to be neighborly.”
“My name is Steve,” Steve said. He grabbed the sandwich and reached to shake the young man’s hand.
“Jacob Graber,” he said and shook Steve’s hand. “I’m heading to Elkhart, Indiana. I’m getting married,” Jacob said. “Well, what I’m really doing is bringing my wife-to-be back to Iowa and there we’ll get married.”
“Congratulations,” Steve said.
“Go ahead and eat,” Jacob said. “I don’t think it improper the eat and speak at the same time.”
Steve smiled and bit into the sandwich.
“It’s a beef roast,” Jacob said. “Nobody makes it as good as my mother.”
“So will your mother teach your wife to prepare beef this good?” Steve said.
“It will take time,” Jacob said.
“I don’t think you’re ready for marriage,” Steve said.
“Why?” Jacob grinned.
“You will have to tell your wife her roasts are just as good as your mother’s if you want to have a good marriage.”
Jacob smiled. “That’s funny, my mother gave the same advice.”
“That’s two independent sources from different genders and backgrounds,” Steve said. “So you better heed the advice.”
“Where are you going?” Jacob said.
“Indianapolis,” Steve said.
“Family?” Jacob said.
“I don’t know,” Steve said.
“That’s an odd remark,” Jacob said.
“Yeah,” Steve said, “it is odd. I don’t want to freak you out, but I don’t really know who I am. Yeah that’s right all I know at the present is that I call myself Steve Joseph. I was in Des Moines, Iowa for a while, but Indianapolis seems to jog something in me. So that’s where I’m going.”
“Have you done drugs?” Jacob said.
“I don’t know.” Steve said. “There is nothing to indicate that at all.”
Jacob removed an envelope from his pocket. He wrote his name and address on it and handed it to Steve. “When you find out who you are write me.”
“You’re a good man, Jacob,” Steve said. “Thanks for the sandwich.”