“Above all these I recognised some sort of sour solitude and an unfinished sadness almost incurable of a very cruel and very betrayed expactations. It seems like the whole Santa Maria cathedral, with all its curves and arches and ogival vaults and all its richeness gothic details, it was crushed that day on his shoulders.
I found out, many kilometres farther that in that day, a little bit too chilly, Nico, this is his name, arrived in Burgos from Australia, by plane, and then took 3 o` clock train and slept for another few hours on the unfriendly chairs from the train-station, but very decided to begin his trip through the end of the World, the final point of the Camino pilgrimage, where it said that is 0 km of personal problems, Finisterre, the place where the ships enter in port in the most west side to the Spain, and also the Continental Europe.
To take a decision. Like this or like that. A white-black game of life. Never between decisions. You can`t ask something like that to a young man who is still dreaming. The symbolism of a journey until the end of the world and then, reaching the final point, burning the clothes that took you on the roads, getting over another way or start, like a continous refreshment, regeneration, purification. Conquered, re-conquered freedom.
That 4th July morning, he lifted up himself on the table after he drunk his caffee and went in his steps` law. I thought I won`t see him ever again, so I just was aware about his presence, or properly said his absence, and I entered in the cathedral, immediatly it opened its doors.
Albergues, kilometres, cities and villages, cigarettes, loneliness and little complicities
20 km away, in Hornillos del Camino I was seeing him again in same albuergue as I was sheltered too. I scanned him again up and down, he looked at me a little bit annoyed and then we saw each other`s nausea.
I was alone on my road since 4 days, and all this walking, like an impose marathon by my own will, seems to me more and more pointless. I didn`t want to give up, but I began to be more and more fet up. Nothing fabulous. Stones, bridges, churches, other pilgrims who tried convince each other of their own spirituality, oh, Lord, please don`t let me be missunderstood, but come on, they were lying one to the other that in the end they will find the Zen, and all the 7 chakras will be open to receive aliens information and will be rounding and rounding, and Jesus will come to save them, or perhaps they will be transformed into indigo children in Earth`s saviour, somewhere in 2012 year, the big year, when the profecy said that it will be the next Atlantida or I don`t know which earthquake will swallow the humanity and only the ones who are spiritualized now, on the Camino Real will escape. That`s what they said. Stupid pilgrims. And I was rising my shoulders very bored and very indifferent. Nobody has to frighten you with ending the world when your worlds invented by your own mind are already vanished. There is enough to realise how false they are, and all these perceptions rounding around your ego. Or your vanity. It doesn`t exist a sneakier-trickier plan than this.”
“Next day, entering in Carrion de los Condes, 19 km away from Fromista, he was walking in front of me, like he didn`t care where the road was taken him. Same strange sensation of carelessness I had myself too. It began equally for me where I`ll go or where I`ll stay. If something happend or nothing. If I go or if I stay.
Although I was walking. I was entering already in lovely tiresome of my own steps.
„I`m the runabout of my life/ Like a movie with Raj Kapur…”
The next five days I didn`t see him. I was busy to escape of someone who seems to aglutinate on me, like a clammy snail, or like fog to Galicia`s morning. I was running and eating dust and stones, screeching the grail under my foot, swallowing other and other kilometres, without finding a good answer why am I walking like this, why am I running, why I don`t want to go back, or stop forever, why I want to reach Santiago where some saint`s bones are laying, and maybe they are not even saint. Absurd! I was feeling like in one of Sartre`s drama pieces. I wasn`t finding nothing scary enough or something really unbielivable to let me stoned. Or make me happy. Just ground. And routine. My journey became a fucking routine. Wake up and go. Wake up and go. Wake up… and people and commun stories. Little amuzing things, here and there. Or soft moments of tenderness gave it to strangers without names. Or me helping people with their blesters. Or me listening, like I was doing at home, when somebody had the restless desire to cry, or to confess, or to whine or to think that his/her story is the most interesting and the only one who deserve to be taken in consideration. But those things are like a joint on Camino. And it`s very ironic that a pilgrimage became routine. I mean, where is the adventure? Everybody was whining about their blesters or physical conditions, and for me it became an usual custom to advice them to go home if they were suffering so much. Where is the miracle?
And finally you start thinking of nothing, you forget why you left home, it`s seems that all your problems, all your existential dilemma, hand in hand with your searchings, were vanished between these little stones, or on the hit of messeta, or through the slippery mountains paths, or in the cold river`s water where you splashed your burning feet. Maybe this is the miracle. To walk and to find about yourself that you are able to walk at plus infinit and meanwhile the landscape is changing, people were changing, someone goes, other remains, and in the end, when you meet one person dear your soul embraces him or her with some childish joy, and when you meet others even a cold stone apears more friendly than their stupid faces.
I thought those days that in my crazy runaway to end my Camino once for all I lost Nico forever. That`s why, when I saw him again, five days later, in Vega del Valcarce, very very tired (he was made that day 40 km to Ponferrada) but absolutely happy, it was like I was redescovering an old friend. In my corner, hidden under a big umbrella, on a terrace, I felt, for the first time when I was seeing him on this Camino, blowing inside him the cruelty of youth and the brutal hapiness of his soul. He had such a beautiful smile and green intensive sparks in his eyes, like this runabout style of life finally rejected his sadness.
But I knew it`s just a short moment. And it won`t last. And it will be worse.
In Samos, three days later, so early in the morning, we were again on the same terrace from the respective city. Different tables. We were drinking our loneliness from a sweet-sorrow black caffee. I remembered the morning from Burgos when I saw Nico for the first time. Now, as good as then, I was working on my articles. He looked worse than that far 4 July day, when he was started his journey. I looked at him under my eyebrows and I had the impression that I was looking at me in some 7 years old mirror. Or perhaps 8. God damn it! I had to talk with him. If not now, maybe I won`t be able next time, if it`ll be a next time.
I waited him to pay his caffee and I waved him to approach. (…) I have the string feeling to push him or to shake him somehow, and with this gesture to shake me too.
„Do you want to share with me few kilometres?” I asked instead.
„Of course”, he answered.
I pack my things and we came up on the street. We searched the yellow arrows and then we followed them conscientious until the border of the city. We left Samos easely, and the churche`s bells were singing behind us.
Simple. That`s how our friendship starts.
(…) In that day, other people didn`t exist for us. Whole the world was dissapeared. We were so far away of everything known, of our friends who were chosen other paths, other sticky roads, or other hollows, we were so deeply screwed into the forest that we didn`t have anything better to do than hanging around into the green nowhere.
His story – a commun one. I could go farther and say: like anyone else`s. Love dessapointment that he wanted to smash it on stones and to lose it permanently in forests. Or to rebuilt it from rests. He wasn`t too sure. Doubts. Doubts. Doubts.
When You`ll Be So Far Away …
I left him there, under a shadowly big tree, without having any clue and not wanting to know what happend behind me. Another people warn in love. Vainglory games. Some woman want some man to fight for her until all the animals in the forest will die. Until he`ll die. But most probably she had some other man who was offering something else. You could go in hell for her and return alive and safe, meanwhile enslave life and death and all the demons in hell, and even that you had another tests to pass, like poor cursed Sisif, and then you didn`t know if you are Sisif or his stupid boulder. Going back, or going down, these are bullshit, nonsens, and I won`t came to you to show you lessons about endless love, because in the end love die more quickly than other things. That`s why is very important but again not. And everytime it depends on the other one`s shows, figures or rights, it depends how good lyer is, he/she wants you or maybe not, I mean he/ she wants you, of course, but what if he/ she find somebody more interesting? And what if he/ she doesn`t find? What if remains alone, isn`t it better to have a safe hand? An A plan? Or B plan? Or C revange plan? Or D marriage plan?
In these cases it`s better to have dust under your boots. And unbroken dreams. And some wildness. Just in case.
I will make the long story short and I just want to tell you this: he was very happy to see me again, that kind of not heartbreaking joy, that kind of joy when you jump on other one`s arms and you know you are hugged as well as you are hugging, because you know nothing wrong will happend next to him, that nothing you shared together, moments, kilometres or stories won`t be destroyed, alterated, or vanished in the garbage of forgiveness. Something which should exist beyond distance, in presence or in absence of false gods, beyond each one`s ego, pure, incredible, marvellous fenomenal asexual embracement of souls.
I thought finally I had found my miracle. There. In a young man. I had realised then how disperate need I also need not to talk someone in vain. But it wasn`t over.
Don`t tell anyone….
Next morning, in Arzua we drank together a caffee con leche, this time sitting both to the same table. We decided to go in separate ways, each one on his/her own Camino. What more could we say to each other, after we talked and talked all night long and he said to me that after months and days he feels now again the taste of the bread when is eating it and the flavor of the caffee when is drinking it?
He gave me as a present his orange jacket who was smelling like wind, like rain, like green rich forest. Dust and water. Pilgrim sweat. And sun. A lot of sun. And it was like something very dear was coming back to me.
He left first. I watched over him until the yellow arrows swallowed him in the forest viscern. He didn`t turn his head. It had to be like this.
I didn`t see him from then. We write one to the other. I know he reached at the end of the world, like he wanted it. But I was sure about that before he said me so.
He wrote me these days:
„Everything is changing in my point of view. I have arrived to my city a couple or three days ago, and as I suposed, all is the same. It´s like that film with Bill Murray where he has to live in the same day everytime. But now something is diferent. I have learned that things are not so easy. But I have learned that you have not to see the next five meters, no. You have to see to the end of the world. To the end of the words.”
And just like this, what it began in a such beautiful named caffee „Bonfin”, just like in a some sort of profecy, it brings me back again the confidence in people. In some people only. The ones who didn`t want to pay in exchange dreams versus love.