stages of shock. danger.
20 December 2013 § Leave a comment
I have done everything possible since arriving to Kathmandu to avoid writing. I have done everything possible to avoid writing. It hurts to travel. Hurts to feel new and ignorant. Like a familiar brick lodged in the throat. We’re friends.
Friends. Let’s not start with friends. Let’s start with projectors instead – kind of like those in cinemas, but with facebook profiles and fingers. I’m being watched. We’re being watched, and projected upon by those dozens of loved ones who came to the wedding and may have thought, this is the kind of love that I want.
No, no, it’s likely not. Unless you’re comfortable in interrogation rooms nightly. Confessionals by day. We do our best to find cabins nestled amongst the great mountains, so neither of us has to feel like too much when we ask the other for what we need or want. Music and lights distract the ears from our voices, which in good time we’ve learned to love. Full-length mirrors hang loose behind the doors, so we can detect our flaws to vanquish them, and inspect smiles for sincerity.
We do not rest well, except after fishing. But then there’s so much to complicate that I do not sleep for long. Morningly she’s up before me, often to take care of me in some way I don’t know.
I don’t know how to say ‘we’ except in attempt to connect.
Oh my god I’m tired of writing about myself.
Nepal. The tire man in Podunk Oregon asked me where it was. Dig a hole to China, and look toward Antarctica. I don’t know anything. Forgot to print the tickets that morning. The unkind passport control woman in Vancouver did not like us, or herself. Bulletproof vest, empty corridor.
We crash-landed into Shangri-la. The walls were lime green and pink, watercolor paintings of Everest, Annapurna, porters and prayer flags, tilted. Since two days after landing, I’ve wanted to go home. My minority status determines the form most relationships with locals take. To hell with the begging. With the anger at my refusal to hand over a few rupees which will not serve well.
I’ve gotten too used to getting what I want.
I know that readers depend on detail. Try this: A couple of years ago I told a girl in Alaska an analogy about a river. How the headwaters, rapids, and deltas were that river simultaneously. Which basically disproves linear time. That if she stepped into the water, came out, and went in again, it would not be the same river. Kind of like life. Keep your memories, I said, but the water flowing when they formed is long since the sea.
She called that ‘deep,’ which said she didn’t get it.
Today, I read ‘Siddhartha’ for the first time, and found that he, Siddhartha, at least according to Hesse, had a similar revelation.
It’s easy to know these things; all you have to do is sit by a river and listen. Application is a different story.
The book distracted enveloped me on the bus from Nagarkot that I forgot my fire staves tucked in the overhead bin. Hours later, in a taxi in a different city, remembrance came with tears. They were gone, and with them, sanity.
I don’t remember the last time Heather and I were happy and thriving for more than a few consecutive days. Since wedding, we’ve embarked on four distinct chapters of honeymoon, a couple of days sweet.
“This doesn’t feel like a honeymoon,” she said. “This feels like…traveling.”
We’re buddies right now. I’m ignoring the world, wishing for a simpler trip, where visas weren’t a hassle, and what the fuck is my problem, my grandmother died yesterday. Or today. The time difference isn’t all that keeps my family apart. I’ve joined that unfortunate club of travelers who were accidentally international in times of family tragedy. This is not something I’m happy about, and it felt inevitable.
Heather called the hotel in Nagarkot, talked to Newa. He biked down to the bus, and found the staves. Sent them down the mountain to Kathmandu, straight to the hotel.
There’s reason to hope.