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.
As I limped my way across other wet bastards lost between translation and incomprehension, and sat my tired ass on a coca-cola chair by a coca-cola table, I noticed my aching friends laughing at me for buying and eating grapes before a giant walk. That’ll work out fine, they said. You’ll shit yourself numb. Well, as it turns out, it did work out fine, you idiots, thanks for the advice.
Well, this was the part I was intending to reach with all the glamorous introduction. I notice how the tone I used right up to this moment is completely wrong for what i wanted to convey. Oh boy. Let’s see. I have to keep on being a jerk, while expressing something as delicate as my poker face while people talk about important things. That’s tricky.
Maybe if I flash forward to the point I am at now? Riding a moving metro train on my way to edit video in Porto, twenty minutes to nine in the morning, powered up by two non-shareable coffee cups. Turns out the nice weather had them too, as the rain and occasional thunderclap soars through my drug-induced morning. No August for you!
That day on the tiny little shop is three years old, and yet here I am remembering it.
The rain. The fruit. The jokes. The wet pilgrims resting, eating and relieving themselves before a reluctant outdoorsy shower. And of course, the table by our side, where two girls sat, in a smoky daze of slow DIY tobacco with a portuguese health label on its yellow package.
The mix of relaxation, coffee and beauty was as inviting as it was subtle. You could see the two were in a zen state, and the rain was merely a passing train in the distance, carrying other people’s worries.
When I asked where they came from, the girls brought their eyes back to this reality, and smiled. That was it. From that point on, we had two extra friends. Laughter and wine-enhanced happiness were to come a lot during the next few days. Further details are unimportant for the purpose of this text.
Or are they?
A memory is a detail. So is time, and the purpose of dreaming. The day-to-day hurry to gather invisible money, and the feeling of uneasiness inherent to feeling disconcerted, absent, disconnected, as a cog in the irrelevant machine, writing on a fucking phone.
Be all that as it may, there she was. Amidst all my failures and dreams, driving magic air through her lungs. Wet, dirty and beautiful, drinking a beverage she absolutely loved, cheaper and better in Portugal by a lot.
Details, details. How I long for them. How they populate and paint a gray mind. How they visit, like relatives do, floating around our minds’ living rooms, all flourish and smiles, spreading stories from other times and places.
Ah shit. Here’s my stop.