on the go 6

It is my last day here and it is a bittersweet feeling: so anxious to shower and sleep in my own home but also dreading so much the fact that I have to leave. it is not so much separation anxiety, or deep melancholy nor terrible yearning because that this city is so great – it is pretty good, but Ive seen/imagined better – but more the call back to reality; this is what that frightens me, that curbs the enthusiasm. it is the routine that awaits and pulls my leash, this is what scares and depresses, it is what drags me back to a world where I have to be a person who answers to a name, that must speak and hear, and be functional in a job, exist as a social security number… this is the really sad part of the goodbye, the real drag at the arrival. this is what I can expect. but I won’t fret. I have to face it. so my bags are early packed and I am tired, but not sleepy. I am ready. Here. A bit too wired, suffering from insomnia, thinking about the plane and money and everything. But ready to leave.

Also, my health haven’t been so great as well, so I’ll be glad to see this go. My lips are so chapped it is like they are crackled leather. But I won’t fret this too. I’ll face it as well, the cold, the streets, the hunger, the uneasiness. So I turn a corner and other corner, waiting to spend my last few dollars in something that will remind me of here, that I will cherish as a token of a good time. And, as I window-shop and look and touch articles on every tourist place, I see them, across the street from me: waiters crossing the asphalt in their white aprons, tray in hand, a cup of warm coffee atop of white china. In fact, it is not the first time I seem them… there they go, busy, delivery boys just out of the kitchen, sweating because of the vapors of boiling water and of the effort, zigzagging their ways among the crowds to deliver, in silver platters, the city’s favorite drink: coffee. it is actually a beautiful ballet – the swan waiters crossing and crossing, balancing spoons and sugar packets and little coffee pots amidst the insane traffic, the horns, the Vespas to please a waiting customer, to serve better, faster, harder, stronger. eager to please. unless, of course, you hit one of them. then, magic will be broken and harsh, unintelligible words will come out of their mouths and things will go sour in a minute.

they go. lots of things go, as well as a few hours. so I search for a way and a place and a world to kill the couple of hours left, pass this time. I decide to have lunch on a bench – a departing, impromptu picnic under a big, tall tree – loiter around the park. life is busy around me, and school kids yell and businessmen smoke outside glass buildings, and I live as they live, mind running a thousand miles per hour, trying not to inhale another mouthful of carbon dioxide. the world really spun around me, the city alive and busting with real people, not dumb tourists in awe, watching life from the camera lenses. I get mesmerized, while feeling a little silly and, for many moments, can only imagine the feelings of these real people and the understatement they have of their place of birth and living, if their current affairs, their mixed love and hate for this town. is it the same I have for mine? is it more intense, more raw or more soft? I can only wonder.

and soon it is time to go to airport, busy as a bee, strolling, having beers to pass out on the plane. there it goes, my last money, perfectly spent on an iced Quilmes. and, after what it seems like hours of being badly seated on uncomfortable plastic chairs, and after a million yawns and boarding calls, there I am, photographing the plane and the city, as the plane lifts off more and more and more, until everything is just a bunch of little unfocused lights in the middle of the black ocean. night rises and darkness falls upon us, and I take my last notes as midnight approaches and passengers, lulled by soft scribbling of my pen and by the gentle rocking of the plane, fall asleep. I, myself, cannot shut my eyes for a single moment. everything is expectation, is the flutter of the stomach upon the arrival home, the welcoming warm weather one can always expect from Rio.

I touch soil. I feel sad, and relieved. a little hungry too, as the airplane food is really terrible… but most of all, I feel rich. traveling will always do this, no matter how bad. I feel like I’ve learned and let myself be learned by a world unseen. I was out there, trying to understand (even though I’m pretty sure no one could see me).

and, well… even if it had really been all bad, there is always the cheap vodka at the free-shop.


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