I hung up the pay phone and waited in the empty bus station. It was 2012 but felt like twenty years before then, as I moved what felt like a snails pace for days across Canada. The greyhound chairs were the same old metal as I’m sure they were in the 70s, the blinds hung crooked above the windows, and the clock on the wall was dirty with years of dust. My Aunt Mary who hadn’t answered her house phone must have been on her way to pick me up driving the streets of Medicine Hat Alberta.
I was worried the bus station would be so busy we wouldn’t find each other in the crowd, but I forgot I was in small town Canada and I sat alone with my backpack and the attendant drinking cold coffee behind the desk. Mary is my grandmother’s oldest sister and as she walked into the station, my worries about recognizing her evaporated. There was no question that we were family. Her smile was identical to my grandma’s, the one I’d known my whole life back in Ontario, and there on the other side of the country I felt closer than I had in months to home.