There will come a day, one day when I will tell you my stories. I will tell you the story of Dulcelina and our tears in the town square, of eating tomatoes gone to seed, of facing wild pigs in the night, of crying in churches, accidentally attending a funeral, drinking wine with peasants, all the animals I hear in the night.
But what I´m not sure I can tell you is how it feels to realise that you are alone, deep in the forest. Suddenly I looked again at the huge trees that were slowly burying this ancient church and I thought....I don´t have a map, I don´t have a compass, I am following chipped and faded stripes of colour painted onto stones and trees and if they don´t appear then I don´t know where to go. There are no humans, no villages, no shops and no phone signal for miles. And I am not afraid.
Should I be afraid? Maybe I just Think I should be because I know that many people, many women would not be able to be here alone. But I feel fine. There is no particular pleasure in this self-imposed isolation, I´m just doing it. I know that if night comes, I am carrying shelter. I know that when hunger comes, I have food. I know that when problems arise, I have the wits and the strength to deal with them. I have scared off wild pigs in the night, I have nearly drowned, I have climbed steep slopes of granite boulders, slowly boosting the rucksack up a step then clambering up myself. I am alone and I solve my own problems. I have walked and walked and walked - 200 km and counting. I have done this alone.
I am starting to believe that what people tell me is the truth, I am brave. I can do this.
I used to be waiting for the worst to happen so that I could test myself, see if I was strong enough.
When I was young, too young, I used to know that my mum and dad were fighting downstairs. I can´t remember hearing the blows but I remember being there, all of us gathered together in one room and thinking that if he kills her he will turn to us and kill us next. And I must be the one that stops him because the others are younger than me.
Could a child face down an angry man? Probably not, no. But into my psychology came the fact that I had to try. It left, I think, a sense of a challenge to be faced, a monster to fight and my strength unproved. It´s not about the fight itself but the thought of whether I could stand up and face it. Could I be strong when the time came?
But he never did kill her and I never had to face him that way....and I grew up and discovered, after many years, that he wasn´t a monster after all, just another man with no emotional intelligence, too weak to express himself except in anger.
Well I think I know now that I can face tests, I have. I don´t have to wait for the worst to happen because I know that if it does, I can cope. I am calm in a crisis. I am strong. I am brave. These are good feelings. It´s good to know myself this way.