How pleasant it is to be a wild strawberry

gladis

Maybe a man is the sun for himself, but, like the sun, engulfs only half of his land, throwing on the rest of it an eternal shadow of uncertainty and doubt. And he doesn’t even want to guess or suspect that even there, in this eternal shade, there he is, himself. Wieslaw Myśliwski Palace 

For a week, at ten o’clock sharp, I have come for breakfast to a restaurant called Lolita, which is situated just beneath my hotel room. Some immensely friendly, corpulent ladies, whose head is crowned with white bonnets work there. I am called cariño, and it really escaped my notice, since when I was started to be named like that. Perhaps it happened last Saturday, when I stayed on the narrow sidewalk, caught a smile, and following a friendly, inviting hand movement, hesitantly walked through the wide entrance, which is also a huge window to a busy street life.

At this time of the day the restaurant is usually empty. It fills up until the early afternoon. I eat rice with sausage, fried bananas, eggs, arepa (a bread, made of ground maize dough), drink coffee and a glass of agua de panela – a drink made from panelas (unrefined cane sugar) and lime juice. Such a meal costs here the equivalent of about two American dollars.

After breakfast I go back to bed, and at six p.m. I return to have dinner. I eat soup with potatoes, beans, corn and meat. For the second course there is a huge serving of rice, or potatoes, meat, salad, coffee and a pint of agua de panela. The whole meal also costs here equivalent of two American dollars. Before midnight I prepare myself one meal more, just before swallowing another antibiotic. Fifth within the last three months. I got a huge dose of Clindamycyn, which I am to enjoy for at least two weeks. The antibiotic was prescribed remotely from Poland, and there was no problem whatsoever to buy it here, because it turned out that in Colombia they can be purchased over the counter (or, it might well have been just my swollen face and feverish sight that helped).

Here are a few facts: Since mid-June I’ve been cycling with sinusitis. Perhaps I got some complications, it is difficult to say. It’s not like I’m an idiot, I’m going crazy and I do not want to recover. I want to. But no one here takes me seriously. I mean, what should I do in a situation when I go to hospital and say that I do not feel well, and describe all bad symptoms I have, just to hear at the end of the visit: If you were able to cycled seventy miles by bike today, and you don’t have a very high fever, so, probably nothing really happens, you seem to be quite well, but just in case, let me protectively prescribe you some antibiotics.

I tried to heal, I took the pills, but when on my question if I am able to continue the journey, somebody answers: If you feel well enough to keep cycling, you may go, then the same day I get on the bike again and I go on. Perhaps it is irresponsible, maybe stupid, but I am like that and it’s a part of me. I usually go, as long as the body does not rebel completely and says: stop. And so the body rebelled last week, as I wrote, and this time help came from Poland. Remotely. I’ll try one more time. If this antibiotic does not work, I won’t go further. I’ve had enough.

Today, I’m moving out of the town to a village Palmar, to an empty house belonging to one of the cooking ladies. I still have hope that I won’t have to come back. Apart from lizards on the walls and birds in the trees, no one lives there. Twenty-four hours alone with my own thoughts. There will be silence and darkness. The hotel walls are thin, don’t quash omnipresent love elation. In the morning, light wakes me up invariably.

The city is never really quiet or really dark. Even at night, and even behind closed eyes. Once I could not sleep. I closed my eyes and waved my hand in front of the face. I clearly saw a movement. Blackness on the background of blackness. Then I covered my eyes tightly with my left hand and I waved again with the right one. The mind knew that I was moving my hand, and again, it created a sense of movement, even that then I could not really see anything. Michal Cichy

When I am no longer be able to bear my own thoughts, I’ll go into the garden to look for some wild strawberries. I’ll look under the wide leaves, under flourishing, mushrooming shrubs, I’ll come among flower beds, furrows, and colorful flowers. I’ll go to look for them, knowing, that I won’t find them there. I’ll crouch over the pond, look in the water and smile to a foreign, motionless face. When I touch it, it will whirl with wrinkles, expand unnaturally, contort strangely, disappears. And when it completely vanishes, I’ll close my eyes, lay down and disperse. I will turn into a red, ripe, wild strawberry. Maybe someone will be passing by and help themselves.

 

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