It´s a Sunday afternon, I´m lying in bed, feeling sad. All day I´ve been alternately reading and daydreaming. The reading is an age old method of escape for me. Forget your surroundings and lose yourself in someone else´s imagination, take on a reality that is not your own. My hopes and fears fade into the background when I´m reading, my life goes on pause, I can forget things. Yesterday I read a volume of Maya Angelou´s autobiography, about how it is to be a black woman at 19, single mother and already with a litany of temporary careers. The building frustration of unfulfilled expectations. Then, today I read a novel about death and families. About connections to land and our own past, about where we belong. All written in dreamy, multicoloured, feather soft language; relaxed and timeless, like a dog dozing in the hot, dusty shadow of a tree in some faraway garden.
I am lying in bed in a room which is a whole house which is actually a shipping container in a clearing in a patch of woods near my sister´s farm. My sister has gone away for a few days to some hot springs in La Rioja. The room is dirty and messy; clothes lie everywhere, there is dust on the floor and, as I lie in bed, I can feel grime leaching onto my skin from the limp sheets. The air smells musty and sharp, the tang of it stings my eyes and blocks my nose. There is a saucepan on the dresser containing lightly fermenting salad; I brought it here last night and ate half of it but it was already past its prime and now it´s plainly inedible. I stealthily opened a tin of tuna from the house owner´s secret stash and spooned it onto a piece of bread; now my hands are covered with an oily sheen. My fingernails are dirty. Every time I scratch my head I discover sand from a beach I slept on almost 2 weeks ago. There is a caravan across the way from my trailer from where, last night, came the knockings and moanings of two people having sex. Right now though, all I can hear is birdsong, the low whisper of the stream and the scratching of this pen on paper. Normally, all of these facts put together would make me feel calm and happy :- the little details of life proceeding in its natural, unplanned manner. The happy mess that nature makes. Today however, everything is tinged with hopelessness. There is no real reason why.
I know it´s time to leave Ixuxu, to set off into the real bit of travelling, the unknown bit. Where things aren´t safe and there is fear and loneliness and self-sufficiency. There will also be freedom and lightness and more beautiful things every day than I could see in a lifetime of office work. But right now, poised at the edge, about to jump, it´s the scary bits that are the strongest. I have no idea what´s going to happen to me. No idea. There´s a chance I´ll meet amazing people who will invite me to do fantastical things in amazing places - join a circus! live in squats and make jam with fruit out of supermarket bins! make art! join a community in the woods and live in slow breathing, long haired silent harmony forever. But this might not happen. There´s a chance, an equal chance, I´ll not meet anyone I can talk to at all. There´s a chance I´ll be cold and wet and hungry and not know what to do about it. There´s a chance I will be shouted at, thrown out of empty buildings and have to sleep uncomfortable nights in dirty places. There is a chance I will be lonely and have no-one to talk to and that, I think, would be the worst thing of all.
Right now, the thought of all these possibilities is keeping me frozen in place, unable to jump. Probably all of these things will happen to me, to a degree. Or maybe, instead, some new and utterly, brilliantly unexpected things will happen to me instead. I will get married to a farmer in Bosnia. Or maybe I will get assaulted and killed and my body will lie undiscovered in central Ukraine for 20 years. There is so much that could happen. A whole universe of possibilities, of myriad lives. And I have to walk forward into that, accepting that I don´t know what´s going to happen to me, only that it could be happy or it could be sad.
It´s incredibly frightening. Especially because I haven´t given myself an end to this. There is no home to return to, no job to pick back up again. There is no future, it does not exist. There is only me walking forward into the unknown.
Writing this makes me see that my time here, in Ixuxu is a kind of limbo. I have been procrastinating, biding time. It´s time to go. It´s time to jump.