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Athena

12 June, 2020

Athena

My breath is short. I don’t know if its the altitude, although La Paz is known to be a very high. It could also be place where I’m in. Although it’s large, looks more like a poorly lit basement. Accustomed to not having walls around me, I am not surrounded by concrete.

I feel as if I am doing time, but I don’t know the crime I committed. I saw no scale nor blindfolded eyes as I got into this place. I don’t have an arrest warrant. Nobody cuffed me. I had no trial. No judged hammered the gavel. I heard no sentence. I was left here without witnesses.

Light comes in through a window. My heart doesn’t beat. My fluids don’t flow. I don’t move. I’m mimicking my enclosed room-mates thanks to the dust that falls and builds up on us. There are flowers in a jarr painted on a canvas hanging from the wall. There are boxes full of books. Firewood. Will there be a bonfire? Lockers with padlocks. A tin airplane. Ship sails. Next to it, a trunk. I wonder if it has a pirate treasure in it. Trunk, sails, ship, airplane, pirates: everything sounds like an adventure. That was the plan I had. Get to Colombia, then hop on a ship, cross the caribbean, and get off in Cuba.

The only living thing that visits me is a rabbit. Its tail rubs me as it hops around. It comes every now and then. Since its not a regular visitor, it makes me miss it. I think that if you were to approach carefully, without making any noise and looked, you would spot its little ears showing. Its a bit skittish. It gives me a lot of tenderness. It never shows up when there is people around. At this point you may have noticed I’m not a human.

If I could tell you the adventures I had to get to this place, you wouldn’t believe me. You’d think I’m lying. Some are fantastic. Others a bit more normal. To me, however, they are all special. There are some that think that I am not the most fit to do the things I’ve done. The evidence is there to disproof them, though. I’ve travelled half the world and now I can’t move. It is as if I had a sudden paralysis. This numbness is driving me mad. It is as I was a caged tiger.

I didn’t mention this, but I don’t travel on my own. When I left Barcelona 5 years ago, I left in the company of a human. Someone who had little experience with someone like me. He named me Athena. We got to know each other. At the beginning, his clumsiness lead us into trouble. His lack of experience sometimes irritated me. But our friendship strengthened. He was concerned rescuing me from the Pamir road after a stone broke my heart. Or those two times that, because of falls, my nose broke and so I was nicknamed the “broken trunk”. Every time I broke, he healed me.

I remember that when we were travelling, whenever we stopped, people made comments on us. As we moved through streets, we would turn heads. Surely we made some jealous. We had request to have photos taken with me. Disbelieving eyes. Gestures of tenderness. Caresses from people I didn’t know. Sometimes everything was overwhelming. I would have loved to have passed by unsuspiciously, but it was impossible. Although the human thought it was because of the two of us, we all know that’s not true. I am the attention grabber. My cylinder heads are worn. My hard panniers are scratched from the falls and the names of the countries visited adorn them. I’m pretty and have a lot of experience. I have attractive curves. I have a goddess name and a modesty because of it. I’d say I am also vain.

If we look at a planisphere, my life is marked by dots in it, united by lines. I was born in Chennai but I was given a name in Barcelona. The marks on the map I associate them with sounds. The crossing of a river or passing through fallen leaves. The call of the muezzins from the minarets calling for prayers in Istanbul. The noise of the Bromo volcano as you get close to its crater. Wood burning from a BBQ with friends. The melody of the languages. Children playing on the streets. Rain hitting the plates. Metallic shutters from businesses functioning as city alarm clocks. The silence of the Mongolian steppes. The horns and the striding chaotic traffic of India. My engine’s roar when its started.

Now, as I await the moment of my freedom, the only sound that surrounds me is silence.

. .