You are alone.
The emptiness is all around you, you’re isolated from the rest of the world, locked in a space that is only yours, that belongs to you in an intimate, personal, almost exclusive way. That moment is for you only, and no one can steal it from you, no one can stop that flow once you start it will be distracting you from the rest and capture your attention.
You close your eyes and you know that you can give more, know that it is the that time or never, feeling that you’re in the exact when and where you should be. You are sweating and your lips curl themselves into a grimace of effort, almost of pain. The effort claims your energy, almost all of it, but you do not give up, you go ahead because you know it has to be done. And so you do it.
Then finally it passes, everything is quiet, everything relaxes.
A shiver runs down your spine and in that moment you are aware that you’ve made it.
Your whole body relaxes and shakes.
You feel light, finally. Almost emptied. But it is a great feeling, it almost makes you smile, while ejecting air from the lungs and you let out a liberating sigh.
Then you turn around and find out that the toilet paper has run out.
At that point you feel lost and you retire into your own world.
You grab your head in your hands and let your mind go.
You are in the middle of a lake.
The pier groans beneath your feet responding to each step you take.
The wood, worn by countless steps, bears the visible signs of aging. Cracks stretching here and there, from side to side, leaving a glimpse of the placid water below. It’s a light wood streaked with white, sun and rain, as if it were an old man who despite his age does what he must do, every day.
The pier stretches out into the middle of the lake for about a hundred metres, or a hundred paces, as you counted a few days ago, just to do it.
It starts from the shore and goes into the water, giving you a view of three hundred and sixty degrees: the conformation of the entire shore around the lake, reflections of the sun, low waves that ripple upon the support poles, swans and pelicans dozing and Perth, in the end, squeezed between the river and the trees of two huge parks.
You sit on the steps of a ladder leading down to the water side, you point your face to the sun and close your eyes.
The noise of some sailboat in the distance, the cry of a gull, the leap of a fish, the sound of water slamming lazily on the wood of the old pier.
You open your mouth to breathe as much wind as possible and you get a fucking fly planted in your throat.
It is so inside you that you almost feel violated.
You cough and murmur in an attempt to turn the awful insect back, trying not to think about how many things those putrid legs have posed on.
What comes out of your mouth is everything but the fly, lying quiet on the wall of your esophagus and slowly going down to your stomach. At that point you almost seem to hear your stomach saying:
What are you, asshole or what? Do you eat flies now? I knew you ate shit but flies seem like a step back, mate…
How to blame it? You should always listen to what your belly tells you. Or so they say…
But you’re strong.
For a moment you indulge with colorful expressions, but then everything is quiet, everything passes and calms down and you return to a state of peace.
That peace you were looking for when you went out this morning.
Wake up, shower, a quick change and then off you go, your hair still damp and a wet T-shirt, worn too quickly, but since the sun is shining you’re not worried about it, it’s hot and the smell of the sea and trees amaze you, it immediately gets inside you and dries you out, it wakes you up and get you focused.
Leaving, you look in the mirror and slow down for a moment, you stop.
Wait a minute, that in the mirror is me… let’s see what he says.
Time passes and you see it, all right, all right, come on over.
The hair is almost long, almost wild. Let’s say they look like shit… which makes more sense.
The smile is still there, that doesn’t go anywhere. The eyes always have that spark. All right.
Even today I like you a lot, mate.
Sometime you would make yourself out, but you do not. You have to be rich and famous first, so it looks trendy. Now it would be so misfit…
Go out, that it’s much better!
You close the door behind you and leave, with music so you can’t hear the wind, your sunnies on otherwise you can’t see a damn thing and go along the driveway lined up to the usual roundabout and then right on that road downhill to where you can see the lake. It ‘s all straight and you just have to walk.
When you get there, you look around, you’re enjoying the sun on your face and foretaste of the coffee you’ll purchase in a little while.
A flat white please, to takeaway. Thank you, mate…
While waiting for your dose of caffeine, you check a couple of emails and some messages. You’ll have to make a few phone calls, while you’re down there on the pier, under the sun, at the lake.
The day before you would’ve had a job interview, but at the last moment you changed your mind, saying thanks for the offer, but no, I am no longer interested.
Now, as you scroll through the emails, you think that you have to start over. Send some resumes, wait for the call and get started.
The barista on duty is in the mood to socialize and, while he devotes himself to the foam of my flat white, he asks me where I am from, what my name is and what I do in Perth. Mind your bloody business old man, just make me that bloody coffee. I would have said that if I was in Padua, at the barista who saw me every single day and asked me the same questions every single week.
I am Italian, mate, just moved here from Sydney. Not working at the moment, but looking for a job.
This I answer here, where someone always speaks to you smiling.
What job mate? He asks.
I’d like barista. I say.
Then come and work here, mate. He goes.
Holy shit. (But I only think it).
Well, I can do that, I reply ready, shall we talk about it?
Sure, come tomorrow or whenever you feel like, bring your CV and have a chat. Here is your flat white. And this is my business card. Just in case I am not around. See you soon …
The air is always good when something goes as you like.
You take a sip of your flat white, the first one is always the best. It is to me like the official start of the day.
Before that there is the whole ritual of preparation to face the new day. The alarm and all that brings you to that point, at the first sip. Then, everything else.
The music now flows through the earphones, giving a rhythm to your steps, directed to the old pier.
This is my routine at the moment. Going with the flow.
Go with the flow.
I have said that many times, but I always used my own philosophy of living: create your own flow.
But it does not work!!
I’ve found that it does not work well, at least not completely.
You don’t create the flow. It is already out there, somewhere. The only thing you can do is to find your own and when you do, do not dump it ever again. Stay attached as undies to the bum’s pants.
The hardest thing is to find it.
But it is out there.
The flow always comes out sooner or later.
When it does, remember the toilet paper.
This post is also available in: Italian