The beige and brown tiles on the otherwise white marble wall look like little crying faces. A faint buzz emerges once in a while from the machine that monitors the air.
World outside is a fresh loneliness kept out by a wooden door. The one that lives inside this old restroom is decades old and smells like chlorine.
I come out after a cold splash of water on my face. The Indian Summer sits and waits for me with a whiplash. I let the water vaporize off my body for a moment of soothe, and soon enough, riding in a crowded bus, the last of the recluse drops vanish. Screams of a thousand kind return and take form of a city. Images, crumbling to and fro, conjure up images of a concrete jungle.
The safari starts.
In the dusk silhouettes, an old planetarium stands still, a church bell tolls, brick-ribbed, naked buildings bare their history. The sea in front is yellow and red and flowing, slave only to the stop signs.
Somewhere, dry coconut skins and resins make fiery love, and the odor smells viciously divine.
Memories play hide and seek. The roads, never lonely, yet I walk on them lonely as a fish thousands of feet under water. The pressure is immense, and it almost breaks me.
For once, I don’t panic. The scurrying couple amuses me, so does the bus conductor, the tea-shopwallah, the feeble beggar singing Manna Dey, the bike-toting romeo. Yet in this maze, they are just pale distractions.
What am I searching for? The library of Babel is enormous, the sadness of Murakami a well of no return, the madness of Kafka bewitchingly spiraling. The anxiety attacks are just bubbles in that enormous pool, something that keeps on telling me that this all is real, the kisses, the slaps, the poems and the rejections. Even holding the rails of a passenger train and vomiting into the abyss, and the aftertaste of stomach acid – real, all real.
Maybe I’m a little too homesick.