The bus is warming up. We mingle in an integrated waiting room.
Black and white, young and old, we are joined by our hopes and fears, but we are together.
In a not too distant past, we would not have been together. We would have waited apart, whites in one room, blacks in another. This unnatural division, built on fear and hate, shaped the culture and shaped the souls of the people who lived in that culture.
It isn't hard to imagine the emotions that built the society. Even now, that fear and hate seems palpable, though better disguised.
I have avoided the south. I fear the hatred will infect me. I fear it will get on the tips of my fingers, curl itself around my ears, snake its ways up my nostril and suck the air from my lungs.
But I am already stained. it is unavoidable.
I can taste it still and see it still. It yet reveals itself in the slight sneer around the corner of a mouth, in the flicker of an eye, the arch of an eyebrow, an odd comment.
The bus is ready and we will ride out together on the pilgrimage,
with lingering ghosts to haunt our journey.