The hard jerk from the tight luggage rack snapped the handle, dry wood cracking on a scalding January morning. Jana’s sandal upper chose that moment to part with the sole. Sliding her heel kept the sole on her foot. Hauling the suitcase by the broken strap, half skating, Jana detrained graceless and clumsy. Smiles bounced around her struggle down the platform. Jana snapped opened her suitcase, fished out runners and tossed the sandals in the Feed Me! bin. A room, a part time job in a dining hall and enough of a scholarship waited for her if she could snag the right bus. She needed all four.
Curdled and soured, the land of fat free lattes and golden honey gleaned from collapsing hives formed a harsh landscape. From Iowa, Jana was poor but had her shot at university. Serving and clearing tables twice daily came with a tiny salary and room. Free meals were the deal maker.
But Jana was never one to take the easy way out. Rather than getting a student loan and paying in-state tuition at Iowa State like all her friends, she'd flown halfway around the world to attend the University of Alice Springs. She felt as out-of-sync as the Southern Hemisphere seasons, especially when she realized the "University" was an ironically-named bar catering to anti-intellectual ranch hands. And all the lattes were made with heavy cream.
Opening: Bibi.....Continuation: John