Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Just Me

Today, I decided to walk home.  Well, I didn't really decide.  I just started walking.  I needed to walk.  I didn't feel like dealing with the taxi drivers, so I headed off in the opposite direction, towards the room.  And I just kept going. 

I'd thought about walking to work before, it doesn't seem far.  I figured it might take about an hour or so.  I was wrong.  It only took 40 minutes.  Work is even closer than I thought; probably just 2 miles.  Much shorter than the walk from my hut to transport in Zambia.  More cars though, less cows, so I guess it evens out.  And thankfully, no crazy turkeys like that one that chased me.  Still got the chickens.

It was a nice walk.  A pleasant day, not too hot, mid 80s maybe.  Early evening, so the sun was low in the sky.  It's dark by 6:30 here.  The breeze was cool and heavy with moisture.  Dust covered my shoes and darkened my legs.  It felt good to feel the sweat dripping down my face, reminded me of Zambia, reminded me I'm alive.  How do people sit in one place all day, every day?

I'm starting to wish I'd remembered to bring my inhaler.  The weather is changing.  The air is heavy but it doesn't rain.  The dust is coming off the ground.  It feels like we're breathing sandy mud.  I drink my water and try to take deep breaths.  And I'm thankful for the blue backpack Mr. Trizzle gave me before I left.  It's soft and cushy, well padded and designed to shift the weight of my heavy books.  It doesn't suffocate me like my old backpack, doesn't crush my lungs from behind, doesn't strangle me or make me hunch over to balance the weight.

The walk was so nice, I didn't even mind that there was no power when I got home.  My eyes adjusted to the dimly lit bathroom and the cold water cascading out of the shower head felt delightful.  I stood there long after the last soap suds had washed down the drain, my skin soaking up refreshing drops, others rolling gently off my shoulders.  I closed my eyes and felt so peaceful.  Nobody was snapping at me, no one was yelling or criticizing.  My legs ached in the pleasant way that lets you know you've used them.  It was wonderful.

Maybe I'll walk home again someday.  As soon as the blisters on my heels heal.

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