Category Archives: Uncategorized

Fuchsia rose

I pick a rose on my way to the airport. A few hours before you arrive. The first sunrays and pieces of blue sky come peeking through the white clouds. Just before coloring into layered strokes of baby pink and baby blue. I wear blue jeans and a leather jacket. The high heels are compulsory. They are my favorite ones. Made of purple suede. Three minutes away from the pretty rough beach, surrounded by vibrant nature, I enjoy the inapropriate me-outfit. This part of New Zealand’s beach  reminds me of The Netherlands. It’s the texture of the sand, the color of the seawater, the wind. At 9.30 pm I walk down Pandora street, towards Beach road. The lush rose seduces me with her color. I approach it. To stick my nose in it’s velvety petals. Her sweet strong scent blows me away. It’s as heavy and deep as it’s bright. Just like it’s color: fuchsia rose. It’s for you. 

Because the feeling I’ve got for you is the same. Deep, heavy and bright, like fuchsia, rose, beautiful, no sharp edges, velvety, no over excited tantalizing shivers. As fantastic as they are and as wonderful they form part of us. For now the edge is replaced by something complete, equally alive, equally real, but almost placid. You are my rose.

My love for you opened a box of Pandora. I contemplate as I walk to the end of the street. But only muddy earth full of shit, is like fertile grounds for a beautiful rose, an unique deep, heavy, bright fuchsia one. The bus arrives. It travels to the central bus interchange. There I wait 30 minutes. Before hopping on the 29 bus. Nine more minutes to go before the airport. And some more before I see you again. 

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The Endless Journey

 
Let’s just be difficult. And challenge our fellow souls who successfully demonstrate the purpose of traveling rather then that of reaching a destination. So let’s just be annoying and ask ourselves the question: ‘what if the beginning and the end are contrary to current wisdom, all about the destination rather then about the journey? Just for the sake of it. Or to be brutally honest, because reality has it that sometimes or suddenly, life, or at least my life, is all about a certain, specific destination. Which wonderfully leads me to the realization that without realizing it, at specific yet undefined moments the present is presenting me with an endless, continuous journey.

‘What ifs’ bring me in a wondrous world of fantasy and imagination, seducing me straight onto the way out of a sound and surrounding reality. Exit, green signs pointing towards flights of stairs. The ones you physically find next to and metaphysically as opposed to, the elevation mechanism called a lift. What ifs generally don’t have the tendency to lift you up. What ifs often lead to a place where it isn’t about logic and cognitive abilities. It makes me browse another reality. An inner reality of inside stories that float and rave upon the waves of feelings, cravings and longings. It made me tattoo at the back of my shoulder: ‘dreams are wishes of the heart’. A reality where satisfaction hardly is possible, yet always just around the corner. A reality shaped by the rhythm of a constant pendulum of frantically searching and researching at one end, while at it’s other extremity finding balance by blockage and deprivation.

Let’s assume that the concept of destiny equals our so called point of satisfaction. We assume things the whole day. In particular about other people’s thoughts, emotions and intentions. So now let us assume something about our own conception. We do have the capacity to feed ourselves with whatever it is we want, to such an extent that at a certain point we say: I’ve had enough, I am done, full, satisfied. At that point we experience a sense of satisfaction. But then, as chance unsurprisingly has it, we quickly find a new spot at the horizon to reach for. And so we accumulate a wealth in experiences. We diversify the richness of our taste palette. We widen the scope of our possessions, let them be made of material, bare power or fulfilling relationships. Eventually we end up being experienced, rich and possessed. But are we ever really satisfied? Or let’s put it this way: does satisfaction actually exist? It makes me compare a sense of satisfaction to the concept of destiny – or there being a destination in life.

What if? I bluntly put forward that a destination does not exist other then in our mind. That the concept of destiny merely functions as a tool, an apparent focus point, allowing us to thrive, move forward, push along, using, or driven by, forces of nature comparable to water whirls, blazing winds and striking lightning. We need our destination and our point of focus as an excuse to flow with those forces of nature. The conceptualization of a destiny, a point of focus and the idea that it is due to our own doings, that it’s us ourselves getting us there, give us a sense of mastering those forces of nature, that we control and that we lead instead of being led by human nature. Why do we call such a vast thing as nature, human anyway? Smells like an effort to master or at least control The Force.

We assume the continuous development, proactively unrolling, dynamically pushing like sprouts do, is led by our own genius. And it’s exactly this assumption that tricks us into being haunted. As human beings, we turn into human doings, restless, never satisfied, always (de)parting, never arriving. And you know what? To stop the motion is not an option. Stop, hold back, like pulling the reins of a galloping Arabian horse, resist the race, back out of it by trying to repress forces of nature that are so much bigger then a bit of consciousness wrapped in a human body. Inertia makes us wonder about the difference between repression and depression. Inertia leads us to believe, have faith, divert into the realm of dreaming, finding distraction and the ephemere satisfaction of multiple addictions. Closing the circle I like to put forth that the absence of a conceptual triplet evolving around being destined, destiny and destination frees the way to literally realize what it actually is that the present beholds. I assure you it’s more then just cruising along.

Reflection Zone

The light is beautiful Monday morning in my bedroom as I finally open my eyes. I find myself enveloped by a concrete ceiling, three white plastered walls and reflections of sunlight at a comfortable duvet cover and an iron bedroom doorpost. At two instances the bright white light is broken up in an array of rainbow colors, caused by the way sunbeams are broken through the sliding double glass of the small bedroom window.
At 8 am my youngest daughter is walking in almost as if she’s set on fire, the sun reflected by her white blond hair that bright. She clenches her eyes, turning her head away slightly as to not be overwhelmed and blinded by the magnificent sunlight, ‘I am hungry’. I ask her to join me in bed for a minute. She doubtfully agrees: ‘I am hungry’. But she smiles a lot as usual and tells me her hundred little stories. I yawn, unable to pull myself out of the reflection zone.

I sent her, happy with the full permission of getting the strawberries out of the fridge herself, down the stairs. Within the time it takes me to write the above, she’s next to my bed again: ‘what’s more for breakfast?’ I have to get it over with. I want to resign on life. But in fact there’s nothing to resign upon. Bits of gray concrete, stretches of immaculately white plaster, possibly showing an overwhelming bright white reflection and as luck has it, that bright white reflection breaks up, momentarily unveiling it’s true colors. The wandering mind, the coloring light, no more then reflections.

The Impossibilities of a Luxurious Lifestyle


‘The only available time tomorrow for a massage is 4.15 pm’.’Hummm, that’s going to be difficult with the kids. What about the day after?’

‘At 10.15 am we have availability for a 60 minute massage’.

‘That’s perfect. My kids start surf classes at 10 am. I like to book the massage at 10.15 am’.

After processing the credit card payment by phone and a long intermezzo about booking the family baths at the hot springs for tomorrow with the kids, no clay experience because this isn’t available for kids and kids can’t hang around the ‘family–bath-hot-springs’ without supervision.

‘Right’.

‘Well all is done. Please make sure to arrive 30 minutes prior to your massage’.

‘Excuse me?’

‘Please make sure to arrive 30 minutes before the actual starting time of the massage’

‘That’s complicated. I will drop my kids at 10 am at the beach and then come to you’

‘If you are late it will reduce your massage time. Our massages are back to back’.

I just paid AUS$150 for a massage, the most expensive massage I ever booked, I think but I don’t say it.

‘You need to be 30 minutes early to fill out the necessary paperwork, get changed into a robe and make your way to the treatment rooms where you will be seated to wait untill you are being guided to your massage table’.

‘Could I maybe save some time by filling out the so called necessary paper work already tomorrow? Since I will be at your hot springs then with my kids. Small effort for me to drop by your reception shortly’.

‘Unfortunately, that’s not possible’.

Our conversation lasts the necessary amount of time it takes me to become familiar with the impossibilities of a luxurious life style. After I turn and shake my world a bit, my kids on Wednesday are going to be dropped off by me 45 min ahead of their surfing class at the milk bar. Where they will be picked up by the van of the East Coast Surf School. I like easy going people. So that Wednesday at 9.45 am sharp I enter the reception lounge of the spa area at the Hot Springs. The paperwork to be filled out consists of one A4 with seven questions about allergies, age and gender. By 9.50 am after having fulfilled my writing tasks, I am changed into my robe and escorted to the treatment rooms uphill. 

‘Would you like some tea? This is Hester. The two of you will be treated in about 15 minutes. Please make yourself comfortable’. Hester takes up a magazine and asks me one or two questions about where I am from. She glances through the glossy while talking to me. She’s from Melbourne, aged around 60, a summer house at the peninsula and trusted with a remarkable memory about Amsterdam, my home town, which she visited in 1977. Walking arm in arm with her husband, he was being propositioned by a girl at one of the streets where girls find themselves inappropriately dressed standing and wiggling their hips in red illuminated windows.

‘Melbourne must have changed a lot over the past twenty years?’

‘Oh well, since I am living in it, I don’t see the change. Aside from the grafitti that has gotten way out of hand. A pity that the streetview has been contaminated in such a way’.

‘Really? Just recently there was this article in the NY times about the extrordinairy graffitti in Australia and New Zealand’.

Shortly after I decide to rest my case and silently wait for my massage saviour to come rescue me.

Helen is being collected. Another woman that meanwhile had come into the relax room, is being collected. Finally Leia comes rushing in, accidentally smashing the door close behind her while apologizing for being a bit sweaty: ‘the hill is steep you know’. I like Leia although I think her demeanour is not very professional. She explains me some things about the ingredients in the oil that she is using. I tell her my skin is not prone on heavy scented creams and oils, essential or not. Obviously she forgets about this soon enough. The amount of very cold oil splashed on my skin without being warmed by her hands first, is quite excessive. The temperature in the massage room already being cooler then comfortable, most probably due to the fact that Leia herself is a bit overheated and let’s the aircon cool her down. I decide I don’t want her to get in a bad mood and keep my mouth shut. Bite your lip Reina, and endure. The massage itself literally doesn’t make a big impression. I think there’s no chance at all to improve the experience. I decide once more to keep my mouth shut. Leia finishes and asks me to wait for her to return so she can let me out. I wait, realizing my cloths are in the dressing room down hill. I wonder why I am left to wait. I think of my children who must probably be towards the end of their surf class by now. After several long minutes I step out of the massage room. Planning to visit the toilet but discarting the idea when I see four women waiting in line for 1 single toilet. I want to make my way out of here as soon as possible. And then I almost bump into Leia again who is hurrying with a large pile of towels on her arms through the corridor. She manages to set me up with a small little double folded card that says: treatment plan, while I apologize myself as polite as possible under the pretext of kids waiting for me to be picked up. ‘Don’t wash the oil off’, Leia concludes insistingly. But I can’t wait to wash the excessive amounts of oil off. I’ve got trouble finding my way back down hill to the changing rooms, paths being restricted by ropes preventing a free through way so that the non-privileged can’t trespass the more exclusive parts of the premises. With some assistance I make my way down and quickly into a shower to shortly afterwards pass by the reception, where I wait, hesitating a moment, not knowing what to do with my locker-wrist band, the girls behind the reception all engaged in phone conversations. When I am just about to hurry on, I am being asked in a generous tone: ‘How was it mam, did you enjoy your massage this morning?’
At the end of the day I read in my treatment plan: ‘discount on products applies, next recommended treatment: Morrocan Cocoon’. 

Sunset over Amsterdam, day one of hundred and eight days

If you love something very very much, let it go. When it comes back, it’s yours. When it doesn’t, it never was
Does human history teach us what happens when one acts against the odds? I like to keep track of the odds for a sacred amount of days to come in order to document the present. I start with day one as the absolute beginning, while questioning it’s absoluteness instantly at the same time. Our life begins where we want it to begin. And so does this story. About love, believing in it against all odds and most significantly, acting upon it. If Hamlet were to be living today the quintessential question would be: ‘when to let go and when to hold on?’ Instead of the infamous coming to age individualism dating back to early Renaissance – meaning rebirthing – Europe expressed by Hamlet’s personal struggle ‘to be or not to be’.
Dark grey, almost black with a purple lining in the form of an horizon. Topped by deep red, like starved flesh, spilling into soft bright orange. Not the kind of orange our country is adorned with as it’s national color. Although the color scheme in fact is very appropriate, taking off and away from Amsterdam. Really taking off and away from it. As if the Dutch sky decides to give me a proper goodbye. Although the copper orange is soft and heavy and more reminiscent of a warm Spanish night in the midst of summer, a village square with flirts of flaming flamenco music, enchanting and everlasting.
Memories and expectations fight hard to be acknowledged. Taking off and away from Amsterdam. I feel it in my lower stomach, my core, more then that I cling to thoughts that plop up in my mind like popcorn but vanish as soon as they meet the languish orange twilight. Leaving behind feelings that cautiously fill the farewell gap. Feelings that unconsciously look for a wardrobe, a sheltering sky. Wanting to be neatly tucked away in a closet. Well kept and guarded until they are deliberately taken out when the time is right. I like them orderly and controlled, no outbursts please, nothing too heavy nor too outworn, just decent. And preferably well recognizable. For when I come back to pick up my ‘feeling’ I don’t need to search through a vast eclectic wardrobe for a long time, rumbling through many look-a-like ‘feelings’. My feelings envelop me like a warm winter coat or they protect me against a cool breeze on a bright summers day like a light wind proof jacket. 
Day one of hundred and eight days. A sacred digit. One as in absolute beginning, zero as in Omega and infinity at it’s side shaped by number 8. 
Flying over Saxony with Leipzig and Dresden informs the lcd screen. Five and a half hours to go before I transit in Doha, capital of Qatar. A very modernist and affluent moslem capital with hints of an archaic society. Of which I was reminded within a matter of minutes after I sat down in the Qatar Airways vessel. My neighbor at the other side of the aisle prompted me to switch off my phone when the plane was about to take off while I was still usurped in messaging the love of my life. Is it me or women from Amsterdam in general that react like allergic to Arabic men trying to dominate us, women in general? I am not talking about how off setting we experience them dominating their personal women. But they fucking act like that all the time, against all women. Inside I scream. However, turning forty eight in five days I’ve learned how to express my complete inability of how to cope with this behavior in other more decisive ways. Neglect the message, knowing that that is exactly what ignites their feeble masculine pride and really puts them off. Talking cultural-religious conditioning here. Both mine and theirs. Love will safe the day one day. One first and last and until infinity breaks, day, shining bright like deep orange copper, laced by a purple horizon.

An homage to great escapes

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I am in the air. As if it is a radio show. But it is about flying. An airy no-show. Absent from my daily life for a week, maybe two. What is my daily life and why is flying away from it seen as an escape? It doesn’t feel like it is. There’s stuff – like matters of life and death – that don’t get to be done because they are overruled by short term daily life priorities and goals. Being easily overruled or overlooked doesn’t mean however, that matters of life and death are of no importance. To be precise, short term and long term both need equal attention. But yes it’s difficult to free one’s attention from short term busy-ness. Because most of the time short term busy-ness is surfacing acute and clear. Whereas long term busy-ness is like an undercurrent building up and gaining force over a length of time and therefore harder to capture.

It might even seem that daily life is composed of only short term busy-ness. So the moment one abdicates from setting the alarm at 7 am to prepare breakfast and lunch boxes for the kids, bringing the kids to school, attending to work or other engagements, groceries, play dates, making dinner, the usual entertainment time abided with phone conversations, media or so called ‘quality time’, the very moment one doesn’t set mind and body to these occupations, it’s called an escape from daily life.

I reckon my daily life deserves as much time to be spent on overthinking my values in life, exploring the borders of my comfort zone, breaking habits that have silently turned into unconscious patterns or setting up new ones. What I am saying is that to me, the time and energy spent to achieve these goals are as much part of my daily life as the repeating schedule captured in set moments of time. How to create space to do all that? Flying time – a good time unit of being in transition or even better, of being lost in translation – is terrific. Obviously flying is not the thing we do out of a quest for taking distance from our set schedules. We’re not going to be in the air for the sake of being in the air.

Which actually is pitiful. Flying time is excellent to float amidst the clouds of life, possibly peeking into ‘see-throughs’ on to our short term busy-ness – as in being busy and maybe capturing a glimpse of the overview; origin and destination included. What I am getting at is that abdicating from our so called daily lives in fact isn’t an escape at all. It is so much not of an escape that instead of merely experiencing the reality of it, temporary abdication of a set schedule even turns out to be more confrontational on a deeper level then engaging in the fairly superficial daily ‘short cuts’, is.

As I wake up in empty morning space

As I wake up in empty morning space, it’s virginity is corrumpated by a thought. The first thought that comes to mind is: ‘something of you is not here’. The part of you that has filled up my almost every morning since days, weeks or is it months? – time is relative, so is distance – your voice isn’t here. I ask myself what physical presence is. Is a voice to be described as a physical presence? Waking up by hearing your voice makes a deep impression. Your voice has grown on me. To me it’s a physical presence. Leaving me with a vast emptiness if it isn’t there to listen to.
After the morning looses it’s virginity because of this first thought, more thoughts easily follow.
Hours and what seems like a life time later my mind is up and functioning at full capacity. Emotions are trying to peek through. Popular pop songs in the back ground, a sweet little daughter calling my name once every couple of minutes. I resist life as it tumbles over me. Safe guards and barriers are raised to keep me from engaging. Why? I wonder why, giving my mind another bone to suck on.
Does meditation brings back that virgin empty morning space? It does. Because the outside is a reflection of the inside. My conscious is empty as I wake up. So it projects space and emptiness into my surroundings making me clearly see and encounter what’s around me. Meditation is clearing my mind from emotion provoking thoughts. As I open my eyes consequently, I project my inner emptiness onto my surroundings, making me see clearly what is.
Every tree, every sun ray is a projection of the mind Plato discovered. This for me this is still difficult to asses. Does it mean the sun ray giving me joy upon waking, does it not exist or does it exist? Hamlet resonates. To be or not to be. If everything only exists as a projection of the mind, we can make it appear and disappear as we like. Don’t pay attention, don’t nurture and it doesn’t exist. Pay attention and nurture and bring out the potential. You know that smallest particle all material is made of? It flips in and out of potential existence and detectable presence and is called a quark. Why do some particles cling so densely at each other that they become as solid as a rock? Whereas others don’t get to see the light of day only if you focus closely. What’s the true difference between a tree and a thought? Blows my mind, feelings explode and little children fall asleep on my lap.
At the end of the day.

 

Melbourne

  

 
At 9.30 pm I’ll be flying back to Europe. I look forward to lock myself up in the plane; to anonymously hang around international airports. Twenty eight hours to pass in nomans land. The space where thoughts are as translucent as the disconnection of my body with it’s surroundings. Emotions are slowly taking hold of me. I will be able to escape from them, hopefully for a little bit longer. Fly away, haunted. 
Café Excello next to Parliament train station is nice. Almost every hang out in Melbourbe is nice. And then you drive into the mountains that are hills and green and beautiful apart from two death-by-accident wombats in the middle of a road. Bird life, vintage hippy stores, the yarra river reflecting sun drops. 

It is cold.The english breakfast tea from my little stainless steel tea pot ‘with milk please’, goes down within minutes. Killing thoughts, emotions and time before I will enter the kan of Onsen Ma. Kan is Japanese for space. It’s a remarkable theme in my life these days. Space, in all it’s dimensions. It feels very light and airy, hard to hold on to. Yet bloody necessary ’cause it doesn’t suffocate me. As my daily life, my social life and my work do. Love needs space, air to breath and energy to flow, blockages to go.

I conceive the space eagerly. It leaves room for emptiness. Emptiness that hence is easily filled by happiness, sorrow and the warmth of love. That is what’s happening. The three are fighting a tight cosmonautic race. The Onsen is expecting me in five minutes. I pay for my english breakfast tea at the cashier of Café Excello. Consciously, as to to keep my mind from spinning. And I proceed into space.

Melbourne time 6 am. At thirty eight thousand feet high in heaven, I wake up in my window seat, fore last row of the aircrafts purple section. It’s nice, dark and cosy. The interior of the plane has wood finishings and a sky with stars that light up above the aisle. I miss him. I missed him at 10 pm when we took off instead of eating a salad he’d prepare for me. I missed him at midnight dozing off instead of having passionate sex with him. I missed him at 3 am hibernating between sleep and consciousness instead of crawling my warm body up to him. I miss him now, writing these words instead of making early morning love to him.

Amsterdam – Barcelona – London

  

The journey continues. Having a destination facilitates a journey. As opposed to not having a destination. And to remain focused at subjects that inhabit one’s own world. I feel incredibly lucky to make journeys. I do. The expression ‘It is not about the destination, but about the journey’ makes itself known. It might not be all about the destination, but in the very first place, so I realize, life requires a destination. Any destination is good. Because it’s the destination that inspires the journey. It’s the destination that lands a journey. Bringing about experiences. Without a destination, life is stationery and litterary a no go. 
Destinations vary from physical entities to metaphysical concepts. Acquiring certainty and security in life, finding the truth or, in my case, center around love and connection. Nothing else really matters. To me it’s love that goes the longest way, further then anything. Connecting flights in between, the accidental lost in translation, transit hours passed in placid, non personal and non familiar places seem exact metaphores for what my journey of love brings forth.

It’s 4.17 am. I wake up three minutes before the alarm after three hours of sound sleep. On a small mattrass at the wooden floor of my brothers’ apartment, next to my two girls. Our dogs are sleeping in the same room. My brother in the room besides us. The apartment is full of my beloved family and not in the least filled with all our stuff. Packed and unpacked suitcases, remnants of last nights dinner, devoured at an authentic Spanish dinner time, around 11 pm. The doors to the balcony are closed to keep the gothic street noise outside. Down town Barrio Gotico; the eldest parts of central Barcelona don’t know much of a recuperation time. A constant buzz goes around. On top of that the temperature doesn’t lower much further then 28 C this night. It is hot. Twenty minutes after the alarm I gently wake up my eldest daughter, thirteen years old. She’d asked me to. I hug her goodbye, leaving her to her little sister of six, my brothers apartment filled with humanity and the eluding city of Barcelona. Only hours later I realize how much I trust her she is able to handle her independency, asking myself if I am doing the right thing. Then the doorbell rings and I get into a black and yellow cab. As it turns onto Colon, stretching along the harbour of Ciutat Vella in between Via Laitaina and Columbus’ thirty meters high landmark at the outset of the famous Rambla de Barcelona, I am struck by the beautiful buzz of this city. It’s still dark outside, fancy lights and illumination scatter through the shadows of palm trees. Even at this hour traffic is abundant and speeding up. Only eight hours ago I arrived in the Mediterranen hub after a two days car drive from Amsterdam, reminiscent of Michel Sardou’s eternal lyrics: ‘D’avonture, en avonture, de train en train, de port en port, je ne peux oublie ton corps. Je t’aime encore’.

The journey continues. ‘Where to?’ asks the elderly friendly driver. 

‘L’aéroporto por favor’

‘Quel terminal?’ 

‘Numéro uno señor’ 

I enjoy the ride. I love it. Because nothing else matters but getting closer to my destination. 

At 5 am the airport information desks are still closed. Access to the internet is outruled. It’s too early for tea. But I talk to him for a couple of minutes on the phone. And nothing beats it. Happiness is the truth. 

My seat for the coming one and a half hours, number 28A, happens to be at the very last row of the plane, window side. It feels remarcably cosy and safe. Right upon landing, seemingly only minutes after we took off, my phone rings. We talk and listen to each other again. Sometimes we let silence talk to us. Much more powerful then words. It’s magnetizing. Down the aisle leaving the plane, following the flight connection signs, checking the digital information screens we are talking and laughing, sharing our anticipation. We walk together through Heathrow while at the same time purchasing a bottle of wine in Melbourne, exploring the essence of Einstein’s theory of relativity. My cabin luggage has to go through security again. That’s where we hang up. 

Heathrow is surprisingly pleasing. It has this somewhat worn feel, like your favorite sturdy winter coat. It’s non glamerous, efficient and comfortable. My first encounter is with an airport host asking me if I need any assistance. I am connected to the internet within minutes and upon request I am being send to the airport spa next to the airport lounges. 

‘Where are you from?’ I ask her. 

‘People are asking me this question twenty times a day. Why is that? Why do you ask?’ She pledges me. 

‘It’s because of your accent’

‘Oh so it’s my English’

‘Often I recognize an accent and can make out where someone comes from by just listening. But with you I can’t make it out. Where are you from?’

‘Ukraine and I don’t like the country’

I tell her I visited it quite extensively some twenty years ago and that I liked it a lot.

‘Why?’

‘Why don’t you like it’ I get back to her.

Our quite confrontational conversation results in Tatiana giving me an excellent massage. It’s a Swedish massage and I don’t like Swedish massage. But she starts by telling me that she’s not allowed to do a deep tissue massage nor shiatsu. As these are my prefered, not to say my only wished for ones, I should be disappointed. But I am not. What I get is her elbows or entire lower arms pinning down firmly, pressing precisely at painful muscles, strong oily hands running over the length of my back, reflexion zones in the soles of my feet and the joints of my neck being played with as if my body is a classical instrument. I almost fall asleep one moment, alternated by cramps from sudden pangs of hurt, the following; good hurt, healing hurt.

After a refreshing shower I step into the hussle of Heathrow again. I find myself a perfect spot in a typical airport restaurant. It’s very crowded. I order English tea with milk and I am loving it. We are connected again, chatting over messenger. Our words are trying their best to express the complete array of excitement, anticipation, love, happiness and sincerity we both go through. While sharing important thoughts, spontaneous outbursts of laughter and sweet talk, I make my way to the second gate of this journey. 

Reflections on Congo

  
Maurice tells me he’s afraid of women. Women are different from men. Life is about being together. In a world where you can’t count on any thing physical, the interaction between humans becomes the only safeguard. There’s no money to acquire possesions. There’s no economy that cultivates produce. Getting your daily food and beverage is as much of a hazard as loving a woman is. Maurice lives by himself in a hut in a tiny little village some five hundred kilometres nord-east of Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo. He’s born in the capital and knows his way around. But he prefers to cater for his own sustenance at the country side rather then being dependent on others in the city.

On est ensemble Maurice repeats. If I can do something for you, I will do it. If you can do something for me, you do it. The context is Congolese Africa. There isn’t much secure in live. Fellow human beings can form a net of (vangnet) if they intent to. Loyalty becomes dominant in a place where hunger, governement corruption and sorcery rule. Food and beverage is to be shared rather then consumed. But mainly it’s about time spent together, being together. Even if there’s nothing to be shared but silence. Individual impressions, thoughts and emotions being processed sitting side by side in each others presence. 

We meet Maurice early in the morning in front of our basic room provided by the priests of a mission post not far from his village. He’s wearing dark shades, a long dress and a little red radio. The peaceful silence at the little monastery is overruled by African music radiating from his device. Maurice is talking philosophy. Sometimes his words are hard to follow. Which makes it even more compelling to listen to him. From the moment he comes to see us until days later, when we leave the country per speedboat crossing the Congo river, he and his little red radio accompany us. By expressing this words I might be able to make the experience everlasting. As if time and distance are relative. Which actually they are.