Traveling alone

I am afraid. I have not been so afraid in quite some time. I want- my panic pills are just there- no. No pills. This is just an experience. Just an experience. Just feelings.

I’m traveling alone, in a big city, in the big, scary, US of A. My opinion of the States over the years has changed from ‘that powerful neighbour to the south’ to ‘that aggressive death trap where desperate people stalk happiness and dreams go to die’. It’s not that I expect someone to leap out from around a corner and hold me up with a gun at any given moment. No, that actual possibility is lodged firmly behind a veneer of disbelief. It’s more that everywhere I look I see run down, dusty streets, scorched and tired looking vegetation, flocks of cars, and a zeitgeist of defeat and distrust. Yes, that’s right. I see zeitgeists. The seventh sense of our enlightened age.

Tomorrow I venture out by bus to a big city, one of the biggest. I’m terrified. But as I’m writing this I’m realizing that I’m not terrified of anything in particular – nothing specific. Just general terror. General anxiety about possible doom. Mount Doom was a mountain that spread nightmares, and I live in its shadow, fertilizing its roots.

Right. Melodrama aside, there’s plenty to fear. Robbery, kidnapping, rape. I can’t trust anyone. And yet I’m about to attempt to Couchsurf – the practice of sleeping on a stranger’s sofa.

All this, and I’m without Patrick. I love him and I want to share every moment of mismatched native flora, every buzz about the conference I will be attending. But right now, I also need him. I can’t tell if my fears are real or illusory. He would both remove the need for my fears, and be able to tell me which are real.

He is my companion, but also my safety. Being without him is one step closer to madness. Sometimes he is like a Pensieve, into which I pour all my thoughts and creations and feelings and he shows them back to me with calm candour. Sometimes he is like my grandmother’s blanket, shielding me from demons. Without him my affection pours into empty space and vibrates around me with taunts. I am solitary. I am only. I am alone.

For some reason around him the bees buzz more quietly around my head. I feel I need to add that this isn’t why I love him, it’s just something that is, perhaps because I love him.

I feel like every moment in this country is a deep breath to steady myself. The week will pass, but goodness knows I hope it isn’t always going to be like this.


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