The sun we’ve been racing towards threatens the horizon casting a hopeful halo slicing a line in the darkness, this time behind us rather than before an untrodden path. Trapped in a sliding moment between two lives we occupy a space too small that offers too little light; of any tone. Time passes and time stands still, the eternity of this drawn out moment defies a clock face that won’t reveal a passing hour of droning hum and a life of convenience just for one. Ladies and gentlemen please fasten your seat-belts, stow your tray tables and place your seats in the upright position, evacuation is in progress. We’re somewhere between the hubbub of elevated consciousness our lives have been recently and the mental vacuum that is leaving life somewhat behind.
As our lives slip away like a continent slipping off the screen of an in flight map we await the flashing moment that this adventure begins. Our thoughts for now are still prying free from the journey that has been saying farewell. Be it rugby triumph, a last day at work, the drunken farewell party, family gatherings, packing up a house or a Sunday family breakfast, our hearts still throb to the pounding of those that refuse to go quietly. To be expected was the hugs, the well wishes and the kind words of appropriate departure. Less expected was the emotional punch so disabling behind the guise of the familiar. The love we’ve felt, held within those who we are close with, has been an irresistible force kept still in the pen of daily propriety. The sudden rush, to us and from, has been a beast of a feast and we ate hungrily. Who knew feeling love was so exhausting?
So now we’re on this trip of a lifetime, leaving behind a lifetime after having the time of our lives. It’s testament to the people we’ve left behind that despite the excitement of the future, we’re eddied in the recent past, a vacuum of space now created but we’ve not yet arrived to fill it. The love we will take with us, it’s the people we’ve temporarily left behind. That love will see the world and when we return we’ll share it back but for now that love is an ocean away, the other side of that space in time when the clock says there’s been no passing of time at all.
There’s a haze hanging thick above us, we’re surrounded by flashing police lights, fast chatter we can’t understand and intermittent explosions from directions we struggle to determine. Our eyes dart to a sense of high alert yet still that haze clings to us sticky on our skin, we can’t shake the tiredness from our shoulders that contradicts this enlivened scene in which we find ourselves. Again an explosion rings out somewhere in this urban jungle littered with refuse and disrepair as another police car drifts ethereally past the two of us haunched in our footpath step. From our safe worlds now so far away we sink into shadows hiding in this dangerous scene yet feeling no danger.
The man that has been looking at us keeps his eagle eye fixed, we sip beers deftly hidden behind our heels like defiant minors, still he watches and still the police pass by. From the bland world of sterile air travel we are assailed now; colours, smells, sounds and tastes threaten to wrench off the cloak of haze that hides us. In this strange world in which we find ourselves we are a bubble, a bubble for two. We speak to no one and no one speaks to us, our world an invisible capsule no more distant than a reaching arm. Charlie’s eyes dart apprehensively before taking a gulp of beer before hurrying it back to the nook he’s created by his heel. Still the man in front of us watches, his gaze lingers before holding up four fingers. Charlie looks down at our empty plates and holds up eight fingers.
A wry smile crosses the mans lips, his white apron dirtied by a long days work as his hands dart subconsciously around his small street side cart. Another police car drifts by drawing a pause to my reach for a beer forcing a temporary pause before I take my sip to the sight of tail lights rounding a corner. Our hands are covered in chilli just as our lips are glossy from the oil off the lamb while we watch fixated as the man before us makes good on his promise for more. Mouths ablaze with flavours so opposed to the bland world of air travel we slowly slide off that haze from our shoulders and our eyes. Explosions ring out in the urban warfare air that is our world now, somewhere between this moment of delightful danger and a time before we stepped foot on a plane this evacuation began. We didn’t see when it started, we just know that it has.
The bounty from our silent sentry is presented on a beckoned finger and met with notes we are yet to be familiar with in a hand outstretched just hopeful it’s enough. A red plastic plate and a green plastic plate have both seen better days but the eight tacos on the plates are made perfect for this day alone. They will not see beyond the next two minutes let alone to another day. The explosions ring out in advance celebration of Independence day, the street stall pumps out tacos to wrench us back to life as they do every day and the police, they’re out every day in the arm wrestle of order that is this city. From the grit of semi decay comes a vibrant life so impossibly alive. This evacuation has begun with the two of us stooped tight, our bubble now burst in the flavours of street tacos, Mexico City the first destination on a journey we can barely believe has arrived.