Joyride


I hadn’t slept in a while. In a weird way, I was looking forward to that infinite train ride to the coast. My feet were dribbling inside my shoes, cheap trekking gear I had bought when I went to Andorra and got lost on the mountains. I was heading towards a lake and I realized almost too late that I had crossed the border into France. I didn’t reach any lake. I didn’t even make it to a village. I heard someone speaking, it didn’t sound like Catalan anymore. I had a Catalan book in my backpack; the words stretched differently in French. So I sat on a rock and looked up to the sky. It was threatening to rain.

It wasn’t raining when I got on the train, though. A group of Spanish-speaking twenty-somethings sat on the four seats to my right. One worked in a hostel and didn’t have to pay rent, another was a construction worker, another a waitress and the other I didn’t gather by eavesdropping. I put my backpack on the seat in front of me. If I thought about it hard enough, I could hear the sound of waves breaking on the shore. I closed my eyes and kept listening to the group. I once too had been a hotel cleaner, a waitress, a construction worker; I had also been lost, jobless, scammed, left for dead.

It was early in the morning. I had come straight from the club to the station. I kept getting flashbacks of the night before, a crowd full of lesbians singing and dancing to a song from two decades ago. When I played that song, I was expecting people to leave the dancefloor for a smoke. Where I came from, no one cared about it. I couldn’t imagine that a crowd of women that had traveled to a ghost-town for a party, had come specifically to dance an eclectic pop song. I played it twice for their enjoyment. They didn’t care that the desert wind had stopped blowing; that the dry, sandy dirt was being raised from the ground and getting attached to their sweaty calves. They got into formation, their sizes and height different and mixed, their hair long, short and shaved, their arms bare, hairy and tattooed, their clothes dark and colorful, they clapped their hands in unison, aligned perfectly in rows as if they were soldiers, and in some way, they were. When dawn came cracking in, I played one last song; the people started fading away, some of them turned into cactuses, others laid on the ground until a little snake had replaced their body. I kept watching as a very young woman stretched her arms into the horns of a bull skull. I lit up a cigarette as I walked towards the sunrise, confident that sooner or later I would find a train station.



«You can’t have green hair on the train», a lady was standing, bending over me, her own green hair hidden behind a pink bonnet. «You must cover all of your hair».

«I am sorry, I wasn’t aware of this rule. Can’t we make an exception, though? I am only going to the coast».

«If you don’t cover your hair immediately, I am going to call the police». The group of students next to me had fallen silent. They were looking at the lady in awe. None of them had green hair. The lady kept looking around for the conductor. The little fly eventually got closer.

«You are correct, ma’am, those are the rules. But I believe our destination is far enough that we cannot stop for one person’s green hair showing», the fly said in a singing voice.

«If I have to wear a bonnet, then so will the rest of the passengers!», her face was red, her neck wobbling like a turkey’s. She moved on looking for the toilet. I smiled gratefully at the fly, but it had already left our carriage. It wasn’t there either when the lady with the bonnet struggled to open the bathroom door, and remained stuck into the small room. I could feel her panic through the steel. It made me so uncomfortable I had to switch positions, so that my bare ankles weren’t touching the train anymore.

As the hours went by the landscape changed out the window. The canola fields replaced the dirt, and they were replaced in turn by maritime forests. I opened the glass window to let the breeze hit my face. My hair started dancing with the wind like seaweed in the riptide.

As I gathered all my stuff and got off the train, I waved goodbye to the kids. It had left me right on the beach. I walked on the shore, the old shoes laced onto my backpack, my bare feet massaged by the sand. I dug the address out of the pocket in my jeans, it had been written with a shaky handwriting. It must have been an old starfish. They had noted a specific rock for me to make a turn. It was supposed to be covered in moss and shells. As I encountered that rock, I saluted the seagull and turned left, facing the ocean. The wind hit my face. I took one last big breath, and started walking in, the water hugging me, first my legs, then stomach, chest, arms, as I looked for signals, ready to start my next gig.



About the author:

I am a lesbian intersectional feminist who loves to read books and write thoughts down;

I mostly travel around in search of new adventures and cultures to learn from!


Credits:

Instagram: @toki.suke

Website: tokisukeart.com


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