I first heard this story a few years ago from a girl I had met in New York's Greenwich Village. Probably the story is one of those mysterious bits of folklore that reappear every few years, to be told a new in one form or another. However, I still like to think that it really did happen, somewhere, sometime.
They were going to Fort Lauderdalethree boys and three girls and when they boarded the bus, they were carrying sandwiches and wine in paper bags, dreaming of golden beaches as the gray cold of New York vanished behind them.
As the bus passed through New Jersey, they began to notice Vingo. He sat in front of them, dressed in a plain, ill-fitting suit, never moving, his dusty face masking his age. He kept chewing the inside of his lip a lot, frozen into some personal cocoon of silence.
Deep into the night, outside Washington, the bus pulled into Howard Johnson's, and everybody got off except Vingo. He sat rooted in his seat, and the young people began to wonder about him, trying to imagine his life: perhaps he was a sea captain, a runaway from his wife, an old soldier going home. When they went back to the bus, one of the girls sat beside him and introduced herself.
“We're going to Florida,” she said brightly.“ I hear it's really beautiful.”
“It is, ” he said quietly, as if remembering something he had tried to forget.
“Want some wine?” she s