To talk about the journey, one must begin at the beginning. You all know about the history of how this all came about, so now I’ll recount the day to you. Grab your cozy blanket, a bit of water, and settle in for my adventure.
How Bianca Spent November 2, 2008
I forced myself to go to sleep. Despite the time change, I knew I needed all the rest I could muster up. So with 4 minutes remaining in the Tech game against #1 ranked Texas, I forced myself to sleep, using the lulls from the game noises to calm my nerves. I inhaled a deep and soulful breath, envisioning myself walking up a bridge on a sunny day.
4:45AM – Good morning, Mrs. Sias. This is your morning wake-up call. My heart was beating rhythmically, slowly, calmly. I stretched like a cat. First the legs, snap crunch, then the back, snap, snap, then the arms, snap, pop, pop, finally the neck, pop, pop, pop. The room was dark and quiet. Everyone slumbering quietly. My mom was the only one who was remotely stirring. My sneakers staring at me, with the orange shoelaces smiling back. Yes, today’s the day!
The doorman proudly smiled at me, and said, “Good luck! I can’t even walk a mile. You can do it!” He hailed my cab and tucked me in, happily waving his well wishes as we pulled away. There was quite a bit of traffic, as the busses lined the streets. Everyone in their running gear, carrying their clear plastic official UPS marathon bag. He dropped me off 7 blocks from the actual meeting point. He said he thought the streets must be blocked off already. I reluctantly got out of the cab, but was a little relieved because I’d been tossed around like a rag doll with every turn.
I proceeded to walk up the street and I happen upon Times Square. I’m in the middle as all of the neon dances around me. I can’t believe I’m really here. I jump on the bus and I get the next to last seat on that first bus. Everyone is half asleep, quiet, getting mentally prepared for what is to come. We’re all running for Robin Hood, and there’s an immediate sense of comraderie. Most of them have filled their clear plastic bags with sweaters, food, sneakers, scarves, thermal packs, and so many other things. I was feeling silly having packed a pair of fit flops, an extra long sleeved shirt, and a glass of water. Hmmm…I guess I should’ve brought a book or even another sweat shirt. Oh well, I have my fanny pack filled with the most important things: cell phone, disposable camera, AMEX and ID, Clif Blocks, Chicken Poop, and the most important thing: my letters!! I had a brief moment of panic and decided to read two. I pulled out Gigi Skip’s and felt energized. Next, I read Michael’s and had tears in my eyes. TOO EARLY FOR THAT BIANCA! I tucked them back in my pack and immediately opened my phone to text Don. Before I could, I read though all of the celebratory texts from friends about the Tech/UT game. The guy seated behind me was quite chatty and I overheard him talking about how very little sleep he got b/c he was watching the game. I asked him about it and he was like, “OMG, that was the very best game I’ve ever seen in my entire life!!!” I told him that I’d fallen asleep. He, of course, shot an incredulous look, but began to recount the last 4 minutes of the game. Play-by-play, I was hyped up again!
The bus took off and we were headed towards Staten Island. I sat there texting Don along the way, him sending words of encouragement. I felt good. I felt awake. I felt alive. Bus after bus, after bus, was trying to crowd into a tiny bit of space. We were shuttled to the drop off area, and sure enough, we walked off and went into the village.
The wind was cold, it whipped against my face, taunting me, challenging me, almost teasing me. I followed the herd of humanity, observing the men falling out of line and heading to the side to pee. In front of the thousands upon thousands, there they were, huddled next to one another, relieving themselves in public like it was a normal occurrence. We were shuttled to the different areas and I just fell in line with everyone who was getting their bagel and water and fruit. I snagged a cardboard carton to flatten out to sit upon in the tent. I was lucky because we had a tent and our own private porta potties. We didn’t have a generator, but there were plenty of people huddled in there. I was quiet, sitting there alone observing everyone. I still had three hours to kill before it was time for me to line up.