The heat of the day emanated from the pavement. It slapped me in the face and made my eyes crinkle. This was the beginning of my summer.
I strolled casually down the street, in a fog, all too familiar with the twists, turns and bumps in the pavement. Melbourne, or more precisely, Fitzroy can be a lurching beast on dry hot days. People fall out of shops, lounge in chairs as if beaten by the sun. Intoxicated eyes greet you on the street, some from alcohol, others drugs and then there are the eyes of tourists, swept up in the throng and beating heart of the inner north.
I stood at the corner of Johnston and Brunswick, the fog was still there and only sunlight could pervade it. A hand roughly shook my shoulder, ‘Luce, what are you up to?’. It took a while for my eyes to rest on the face and recognise it. I smiled, the green man flashed and we fell in step. We talked for a little while, bought lunch and happily went our separate ways. I ended up in the park, lying with my face to the sun reading for hours. He returned home, told his girlfriend he’d seen me and a little while later she arrived in the park laden with strawberries and home-style lemonade.
I needed rest, I needed recuperation, I needed friends. Most of all, I needed silence. We stayed in the park for a while, sometimes laughing, sometimes silent. It was the perfect balance of everything I had been craving. Afterwards I went home, read for a few more hours and slept.
Somehow, my life was something I could no longer call my own. I’d become so caught up in the expectations of others that I’d forgotten how to stand up straight, sleep for seven hours a night, slow dance or laugh as easily as I’d done before. It is difficult to understand the root of my disintegration without questioning my own resilience to this modern life. It feels as if I tried to cross the road, was hit by a truck yet miraculously ended up on the other side, a little broken and dazed but still breathing and with spark.
It’s only five days till I hit the tarmac and fly to the US. Yesterday I finished up at my job of almost two years, it was a great send off and it felt strange to walk out of that building and simultaneously shed myself of all responsibility pertaining to my role there. For almost two years I’d been making sure other people did their jobs, that deadlines were met, actions followed up and papers were submitted on time. My brain is yet to switch off, I’m still thinking about all the things I was meant to do next week, the four meetings I had scheduled, the teleconference code and spreadsheets full of letters and figures. Ultimately I had built an empire of paper, turning off my computer and walking out the door made the reality of days and nights spent shifting papers bear down on me like a foul and heavy gust of wind.
2014 has been a strange year for me, there have been a lot of trials and tribulations. I don’t think I can really describe how necessary this holiday (and meeting up with old friends) is for my soul. People keep asking me what I plan to do when I get back. It’s difficult to answer that question without feeling slightly forlorn. The long answer is boring as hell and confusing for all involved, the short answer is I don’t know yet but let’s not dwell.
In the coming weeks this blog will once more transform into a travel blog, it will be the second time the USA has featured here. I’m looking forward to writing and reflecting upon the new direction my life is taking and I hope you all enjoy the ride.
C’est la vie.