Tuesday, June 03, 2003

The Rest Of November 2001 Through January 2002

These are days of pain. I cannot believe how much agony I am in. Physically my body is in poor shape. My feet are trashed so badly that I can only wear sandals and not shoes. I now walk with in an old people's gait and bent over, still trying to counterbalance the weight of the backpack I no longer carry. My sister says that when I move around I look exactly like that old man character Tim Conway played on The Carol Burnett Show. By the end of January the toenails on both my baby toes fall off. People who see me are shocked by the amount of weight I have lost. I figure I've lost around 12-15 pounds (about the weight of my pack) and since I normally weigh about 127 pounds, this is a lot for me.

Mentally I feel like I have been ripped in two. My body is here but my mind is still on the Camino. Sometimes when I walk to the post office to pick up the mail I find I have been walking the Camino the whole distance. How to explain this. What I see in my mind is more real than where I am right now. It is like watching a movie on a big screen, after a while you forget the theater, the seat you are sitting in, and the people around you.

I do not want to talk about my walk and am actually angry when people ask about it. At first it is because I think people are trying to do the walk vicariously through me. With my Post-Camino Shuffle people who do not know I did the walk will ask what happened to me; why am I walking like I hurt? I say I am walking this way because I spent a month walking across Spain. Some people's eyes light up as they ask me what it was like. I politely reply, "Fine", while my eyes are saying, "I f***ing dare you to ask me more". Other people, when they find out I walked across Spain, are silent for a couple of seconds and I see the unasked question, "Why?" in their eyes before they ask what it was like. I politely reply, "Fine", while my eyes are saying, "I f****ing dare you to ask me more".

Later it is because I am losing the walk. It always had a dream quality to it and now all that is left are dream fragments. My memories of the walk are fading like a favorite blouse thrown in the wash too many times. When I read the notes I wrote on the walk I don't know what some of them are about. All I remember are some of the people and the rhythm of walking each day. Funny, this should be very upsetting but it is not. Not remembering takes the pressure off having to talk to people about it. Since this is something I cannot do anyway, having no memory of the walk is a blessing.

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