Half way to somewhere. In transit. Betwixt and between.
When I travel between where I have been and where I am going, I descend into a deeply organised stream of consciousness kind of existence that has no tether. I seldom speak now except to thank the air hostess as I glide off the plane, my shoulders balancing bags, cameras snug. To thank the concierge for carrying my luggage my room key in its proper pocket. To thank the barman for a glass of wine my eyes barely lifted. To thank the waitress for a breakfast as she whisks the plate away. My smiles are considered and gentle. I do not invite conversation with strangers. There are those tiniest of eyes widened to the woman alone at another table as she fans herself with her napkin. The eye to eye nod to the old woman whose bag you put into the over head bins. The small real smile of thanks to the driver as he lifts the luggage – Bricks? he asked. Books, I answered. My only real word in 24 hours. Books.
It is not as much people watching as people awareness. I listen to their conversations, sometimes even writing them down. I note how their bodies are angled towards each other or away. How she rolls her eyes at him and he leans in trying to make amends but will always fail. How the roving eye tries to gather hers. How the child’s hands reach to touch but her chariot is pushed too fast. How the waitresses pause together, hands busy at their stations, quickly discussing new shoes in Spanish as their eyes rove for the signs of meals finished or diners with a question. Father watching son reading the paper, and smiling as he reads something aloud. The dark hand turning her from the small of her back. The twist of heels in morning shoes.
Words drift down into an amalgam of gentle sound. The aluminium jangles of conversation fade and mute. English is no longer of use. Language is not necessary to travel. Movement becomes ones language. The way he speaks. The tip of her head. The guidance of a hand. This way. Doors open. Doors close. Planes drift down from overhead. We are herded in. The planes rev their motors and take off.
My satchel and suitcases are packed with a nurses precision. Everything has a place and is always strictly returned to that place lest the flux of travel swallows a possession whole. All the most important of my belongings are with me in my bubble of slow motion. They are carried on my snails back as I carefully wend my wordless way across the world. Rolled into little bags and stowed away in bigger bags. Quieted for their journey. The best underwear, the saved tops, bottoms from the top shelves. The good dress. The heels and stockings. The unblemished fabrics, folded into tissue for their journey. Stilled. Packed. Inanimate. Blocks of stalled conversations. Cocktails in their hems.
My mind slowly slips its slippery ropes, hand over hand – and without a sound or even a backwards look I reach the place in which I drift out into the sea of pause. The place between. The flux. The place where the tiny bags I carry become my whole world. Where this is all I own. This is all I am. Where I have been gets misty and where I am going awaits in its cloud on its islands. Flux has a darkness. I no longer know if I will ever return or whether I will ever arrive. If I will succeed in my travels. If the gods have another plan as I drift through the skies of blue promises. Flux is a nebulous place, its threat is hidden far down. I slide into that veiled cossetted place where one can forget, and settle and allow oneself to be gently towed by the benovelent monster across the planet and allow the air its say as it meets the ocean of your breath.
My fire burns low now as I travel. In transit. Between the betwixt.