fall manifesto

Hello, September.

Learn to eat breakfast again. Cook coffee on the stove every morning. Read and read a lot. Spend time at home; in silence and solitude. Go for walks whenever you can. Cook soups and bake zucchini bread. Purge your living space. Hang the tealights again. Replace all the light bulbs around the apartment; winter is going be dark enough just by itself. Pre-order Janet Fitch’s upcoming book. Drink copious amounts of ginger tea. Return to the sea. Write about the cities you’ve been to. Write. You are ready. Spend time at home; in silence and solitude. Leave your phone on airplane mode. Travel: book more flights, jump on a train, just go. Eat less, drink less. Improve your sleeping habits. Say no more often. Practice mindfulness (you haven’t been and it shows). Feel what you need to feel; then let it go.

(20162015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008)

volcano

As always.

Week one, day two.

Time doesn’t flow for me the same way anymore. Everything has changed. I make lists in my head; little numbers. How do you measure grief?

The weekend stretched on endlessly. It took a lot of wine, cigarettes, and two movies at a cinema to survive until Monday. But then again. I’ve aged in the meantime. There’s new gray hair as proof. It’s only been five days — how is that possible? I can hear the seconds clicking; time moving so slowly it’s thick as a pot of hot semolina. It’s been two years since a dinner at Mama Africa; I find myself craving it these days. And I know what’d he say, too.

Slow, and heavy. Absent-minded, ambivalent. Even the slightest smile hurts. And yet — everything is okay. I am okay. It’s just that I’d forgotten what it feels like when no one else is affected as much as you are. The betrayal of that feeling. When you are an island in the middle of the ocean. Must keep swimming. Grief is like the sea. I need to learn to navigate the waves of it just the same. It’s not like before. Nothing is. I am starting from scratch. Back to square one.

You give me miles and miles of mountains
And I’ll ask for the sea*

I miss the sea; I miss the sea because it teaches me. Sleeping in the fresh salty air, under the stars, being awoken by the sun each morning. And the waves of the open sea that are life affirming. In comparison, my days feel like a warm swamp now.

The freedom. But what is freedom without a price to pay?

inventory | july

Coffee by the sea.

Listened to these three songs on repeat. Read a lot. More than usually, that is. Drank wine in beer gardens. Missed another flight. Booked a different one. Instead of three weeks, I spent ten days at home by the sea and felt grateful every single day. Slept outside on the terrace under the stars every night. Swam in the bay. Swam in the open sea. Cooked coffee on the stove in dzezva. More often, it’d be maman who’d do it for me. For some reason, hers is always better. Drank espressos strong as hell from tiny cups with Almodovar images on them. Spent a morning in Split. A morning in Zagreb. A weekend away from Prague when things looked very positive but they weren’t. Drank flavored water: watermelon, mint, and basil. Drank way too much coffee. Stopped smoking cigarettes for a while then started again. Came to a realization that the circle of people around me is too wide and that I need to narrow it down. A self-preservation thing of sorts. Went to of Montreal with a special someone. Wrote lists of things I felt grateful for at my corner coffee shop. Some mornings I’d wake up to different messages: from the sunshine, from my barista (the coffee is waiting for you!), from friends across the globe, from First Love, from the one I left behind. This month, more than any other, I’d been reminded that I am not alone. At all. It doesn’t matter what he used to say anymore. Some nights, I’d stay wide awake until 5.30 am, not being able to sleep. Some nights, I wouldn’t sleep at all. Others, I’d be under covers at nine. Spent a few days waiting around hospitals. When he was there, it was indefinitely easier and I am grateful that he refused to leave me alone. Wrote more lists of things. Mostly to soothe my mind. To feel the ground under my feet. To be reminded that I am a lioness.