Sunday, March 5, 2017

An introvert abroad - day 2

Day 2.

Overcast morning. Silent house. Body still protesting movement. I get up anyway, and push myself up a long hill to a bus stop.

I arrive early. Dancing: a familiar quintuplet of rhythms. The facilitator welcomes me warmly. I start to feel at home, like my tribe exists everywhere, if I just know where to find them. I coax my reticent limbs into stretches, shapes they haven't taken on in weeks.

As more people arrive, I notice familiar characters connecting, and myself floating, more and more on the outer edges. Not many people even make eye contact. I don't consider myself shy, but without an opening I don't try to connect.

Walking is easier afterwards, though I can feel the weight of my own flesh. The earth wants to befriend my body. Lie down, she says... stop climbing mountains and looking at harbours... surrender to the heaviness. I walk on, hatless and sunscreen forgotten.

Lukewarm mint and cinnamon tea on top of a grass-lined crater, with a 360° view, and a (helpful?) guide to how far I am from home. It's impossible to photograph well on my usually adequate smartphone.

There are more people sharing the view than I'd like. I content myself with being amused at the Asian children afraid of the insects, and the handsome, sweating man running casually over the lookout.

In the canopied forest, path sloping downhill, the leaf litter underfoot reminds me of another time, another walk, with someone that I need to forget.

I've stopped shaving recently. I've never really liked it. It was always something I did to avoid drawing unwanted attention to myself, starting with the bullies in high school. I'm still walking around a little self consciously, waiting to encounter someone that feels so strongly about it that they'll try to shame me into starting again, or hiding it. But seriously, men: why didn't you tell us life feels better with leg hair? A simple breeze on the exposed portion of my legs is a revelation in sensation.

Auckland is bigger than it seems. A hilly, spread-out city that doesn't seem to have the sharp distinctions between suburbs that I'm used to (unlike Sydney, Los Angeles). I haven't been anywhere here, where I felt like I shouldn't be.

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