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15/01/18 — Leave a comment

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.

This was the coldest he’d been in weeks. He hadn’t slept all that well, and his mind was racing between a deafening static of worries.

Encapsulated in a Krillin hoodie, under a pool of streamed music and the digital gaze of a running app, he battered the kilometers away one at a time, keeping the growing pain subsided to an autopiloted action, whilst he fought to distance himself from his familiar thoughts.

‘How many sides of you are a work in progress?’, said an harrowing scowl, ‘In how many ways are you a wannabe runner on a feared, unknown pool of nothingness? Why do you let your crippling self-doubt hinder and make a rag doll out of you?’

‘Shut up, I’m not in the mood for you.’

‘You shut up. Who do you think you are, bossing me around? You may very well think me away, but you can’t. I’m the distress in your days, I’m the sour in your sweet, I’m the ugly in your neat, and I will find you — always. Nothing can keep me away. Your actions are futile, and your stupidity blinds you to the truth. You’ll never be happy. All your little tools and plans are a joke.’

‘On that note, I have something to ask you.’

The voice couldn’t hide a tone of surprise. ‘Yes…? And what might that be?’

He tried to keep is breathing under control. ‘I want to make a pact with you. I am your prey whether I like it or not, correct?’

‘That is a fact.’

‘Hear me out. I wish for you to leave me alone when I talk to other people. Is that something we can work out?’

The voice paused, deep in thought. ‘You’ll have to give me something in return for this unusual request.’

‘I understand. I am ready to part with one of my dreams.’

‘Is that so…?’

He stopped on his tracks. The app whispered in his ear — autopause. ‘That is my offer. In exchange for one of my dreams, you will never talk to me while I am already in a conversation with any other person.’

‘That sounds… doable.’

‘Do we have an agreement?’

The voice laughed. ‘And what dream of yours might it be?’

‘I’ll have to think about it. I’ll let you know.’

‘Keep me posted’, said the dreadful whisper.

‘I will. Now leave me alone. I have a full day ahead.’

‘Keep on being foolish’, and the voice laughed itself away.

The horizon was clearing a bluish sky. The night had ended its run, and he kept on running, for there was a distance yet to be braved. The app whispered yet again — autoresume.

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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.

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.

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