Paula Garay González dreams up a grammar of travelling for the broken-hearted.
Those first days of my new life I researched the concept of travelling. I had just settled down after a trotting summer of in fits and starts landings across several European corners. From the islands of Holland to my own Heart of Darkness, a quite idiosyncratic spot where, among other things, it is at present forbidden to name all the places I visited with you..
Grosso modo it seemed that we travel to discover new places. For the nonconformist, perhaps the goal is to know new people and cultures. For many others, it is just about taking nice shots, adding original filters and uploading them to social media. For me, though, the whole matter lay in finding the ghost of the White Lady, with all that this entailed.
But there was more, much more. We travel to get lost, to forget, to escape from the point of departure and from our own circumstances, as well. We travel to avoid trouble. We travel for. We travel in order to. We travel with –careful with this. We (dare to) travel without. And that is the question, or so I thought.
Our travelling is conditioned by our own Prepositions. Our own Prepositions, in turn, by the Objects and Subjects on which we can count. Therefore, after considering blowing my brains out, I had to admit that our main motivations in life are subordinated to our own grammar –main statement. Translated into the travelling argument: I should remove you from your post as a Subject, Direct and Indirect Object, you should not even be an Agent in any of my sentences anymore, so I could finally free my Prepositions from your influence and carry on with my travelling –without, after, away from you!
Whatever travels I could make from now on, no one would lead me back to those coasts again, and the time for sailing on your catamaran, wind on my face, was definitely gone. To travel was, for the moment, a verb to be conjugated in singular. And somehow, I learnt, this was also important. After waking from my dream, your field of sunflowers was a row of dandelions. And guess what: Now I lived in the city of the wind. And my in(tro)spection, within all matters, had just begun.
What I finally had to say about travelling is that this was more than just a trip for me, I had come to find myself. And these sort of adventures only become evident as they happen. Usually, after one or two nights sitting at the window, looking through and waiting to see the White Lady appear, sticking out on the dormer of the lonely tower of the cathedral ruins. Two or three nights waiting for her proclamation as the only ghost, dethroning all my others, blurring the echoes of your smile from my memory. Three or four nights finding only my own reflection, and that of my white nightgown, and still a fifth to understand that perhaps that was the whole point of it, the true and magical spirit. That despite the unchangeable past, the present, wherever it led me, was still mine.