Autoresume

He never felt like running.

Every other morning, he puppeteered his lifeless mass of numb arms and legs to venture into the cold, brisk north wind that swept the morning beaches. Seagulls kept a promise of life among the dark blue plains of water, crying about their birdly affairs, and the long stretches of atlantic summer chaos, devoid of people, welcomed the elements and almost nothing but.

Every now and then a pilgrim on the way to Santiago crossed his path, and to every single one he wished ‘bom caminho’, dreaming of the times, future and past, he walked to Santiago just like them. Otherwise, he was all alone, for it was much too early in the day, and every wave broke a silence only disturbed by their own echoes on the sleeping buildings.

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Magic air

A timid sun lurked between rows of distant, sleepy houses. The raincoats shone from the constant pouring, and the mud on our boots clinged for dear life. You’d see clearly, by the way we moved, how sore our feet were. Compared to past days, they were strolling gently through freshly cut grass, drinking camomile tea and being massaged to the soothing sound of generic oriental new age monk music.

We had arrived on the tiniest of grocery stores. The old lady running it didn’t care much for light, as half her universe was as dark as a coal mine, and the rest dimly lit. The small collection of fruit and food was everything you could hope for in the middle of the Camino. I picked up some bananas, apples and grapes, and ordered coffee. Scratch that — saying I ordered coffee will sound like I was in a Starbucks, selfie’ing shamelessly around my badly written name on the paper cup. I wasn’t.

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Serendipity and love

The sun was dizzying and the path was unforgiving. I felt very hot, increasingly tired, and my damned water bottle was empty. Forgetting to refill it before those last 7 kilometers was, in retrospect, a rookie mistake. Step by step, with a ghost-like expression on my face, I hurried to my unknown destination. Where was I going? Why was I alone, thirsty, walking painfully towards the smallest of villages in Spain, in a terribly hot afternoon, in May?

I wish I could answer that truthfully. The truth is I can’t.

Last April, I embarked on a one-off journey that would last 35 days. I felt a gloomy, worrying sensation on my spine, when I saw my parents leave me at the Campanhã station in Porto, waiting for a middle-of-the-night train that would take me two countries away. Why?

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