Everything has stilled and I feel a kind of normalcy that a week ago seemed as impossible as my being here in the first place. You climb into yourself and learn how to wear it all differently. You slowly become the person you tried to summon, alone and afraid on those first days. I’ve been south shy of a week, tucked into the jungle hills off the coast in Uluwatu as far south as south goes here. I’ve said it before, when you don’t know what to do go south.
It’s so small and massive at the same time, the jungle alive in ways I didn’t know the world was missing, leaves the size of my stomach. It’s what I’ll remember later. In the mornings I do yoga on a wooden platform near the ocean where a small Australian girl teaches me how to breathe with the backs of my lungs. And my mind wanders to you, and I tug it back into place. Come back here, I tell it, come back here. There will plenty of time for that later. And my book tells me there is no later. There is only right now.
I live on smoothie bowls the size of my face, bright hot electric pinks I’ve never seen before, granola so sweet it sticks to the insides of my cheeks and my teeth. Watermelon juices run through my veins. I like to go out in the mornings, to ride through the empty streets just barely still wet from the rain that comes before sunrise. I watch the surfers fly past me, boards tucked beneath their arms, in search of what they came here searching for. Men pay no mind here, they don’t stare at my legs, don’t sit close to me at the bar. Their entire language has changed, all talk of left barrels and waters that drain over reefs, of places to paddle out that make you believe in God again.
What I need has shifted, my senses heightened, my standards of a day realigned. When I think about these jungle roads I’ll think about the cow in front of Jerffry’s that looks at me like it knows me, and the sweet woman who makes me espresso at Beetroot, and the boy at the front counter who folds my sheets when I slip out the door for a swim, and the sound of boys laughing over Bintang’s, and the rush of rain as it moves towards us across the island. It will smell bitter like smoke and taste sweet like dragonfruit, and feel like I never really slept at all.
I feel comfortable and settled and that means it’s time to go somewhere new this afternoon.