I traded seagulls for ravens. On my backpack I had three days worth of clothes, and a toothbrush. On my heart I had a lifetime worth of dreams. I waited too long for this, and I wonder why… I don’t want to think that I was too long trapped in my fears, in my anxiety, such a cliché, right? I mean, being so aware of the cockroaches on my head I should have known better, shouldn’t I?
Well, let me just say, It doesn’t work like that. The first step to change something is to acknowledge its existence, but that’s only the first step. The second one is to figure out how to fight it. The answer is never to run away from the fight, to try to find a way around. No. You have to face it with your eyes wide open and the shivers down your spine. In my case, I was just numb. I let myself go into the river of time, and I wasn’t even floating in the surface, I was in deep water, drowning, figuratively, and more than often, literally, as I used many bar stools to forget about everything. I guess I needed something bigger than me to make me jump out of the water. I knew that I still had the fire in me. I still had dreams. I knew it because of my growing frustration. I wanted to accept things as they were, but I never could. I was getting to a point where I felt it was becoming to be too much. I needed a way out.
Life sometimes creates the perfect dramatic entrances. The perfect frame to be later remembered. I remember the moment quite well, I remember it was a wonderful spring afternoon. A soft breeze was making the sunlight dance between the leaves that were on their color prime. Green was everywhere in the city. It was a holiday’s eve, and so, the happiness of the people all over the city could be heard all around. The laughs, the shouting, the music in the distance. A couple of clouds were in the sky, slowly passing through our heads, around them just blue.
Those who know Lisbon, know that the city lays on top of seven hills. Some streets are like a rollercoaster going down. You can see the river in the distance, even looking straight ahead, if you are on a street that’s on the top of one of those hills, as the buildings are actually beneath you, on the downing slope. I was on a park with some friends sitting on a wall, just having a cold beer and a chat. One of my friends spots someone turning the corner of the street. He gets up and shouts: “Maria!” – That was the first I heard her name. We learn most things in life by looking back to them some time after they happen. We need to give them time to find the perfect spot on our minds to settle before they are open for visitors. What I’m trying to say is: only now I understand the importance of that moment.
She walked slowly towards us. Bit by bit, frame by frame, her face starts to appear in front of my eyes, coming from the down slope, like a treasure being unearthed. The seagulls started to flock above us, screaming for attention. I think somehow they knew. That was the moment I traded them for ravens.
In the next two weeks, time will lapse in a blink of an eye. That brief blink will become my entire life.
To be continued…
Read Part II next Wednesday.