I woke this morning with a headache that had already grown up and learned how to say “coffee.”
The camp I’ve been counseling at, being mostly filled with children, understandably, had none. So, I’ve been walking for thirty minutes now. The sun is still out. It would be a record if I were back in St. Petersburg.
After stopping at a shop that turned out to not be the shop I’ve been looking for, I press on. There is a garage to my left. A man sits outside on a bucket. He looks like any man, sitting on any bucket, outside of any garage, anywhere in the world. He waves.
I wave, like a pro.
I walk further. A lawn is being mowed. It smells like it. Then, finally, I see an intersection. I vaguely recollect–from a lifetime ago–when I was told of this store that “it’s somewhere, kinda near an intersection.”
I look to my left.
“Boo-yah!” I say, skipping toward it. Then, I see the door. It is a fat white door. There is a fat white sign with fat blue letters.
Is what it says. I realize it is Saturday, late afternoon. But, Finnish, being what it is, does not translate well into comprehensible abbreviations.
I cross the empty parking lot, toward the light-less building with a hung-man’s hope.
I pull on the door. I sigh. I turn in shame. I trudge back across the wasteland of a parking-lot. I spot some bikers across the way. I wave to them, they wave back.
“English?” I ask. The man jerks his thumb towards who I imagine to be his wife.
“Hi, uh–do you know where the next closest shop is?” I ask.
She nods. “Twelve kilometers that way,” she says, with a mouthful of accent.
I don’t bother to ask which way and she doesn’t bother to point.
“Well, shit.” I sigh.
“Yes.” She gives me a sympathetic smile. They bike on. I turn, thirsty, hungry, tired. I start to walk back.
I quickly pass the house of one-thousand post cards; eyes at war and black teeth wave to me as I go. I am starting to sweat. A fly, or maybe a bee, flies in front of my face. It lands on my cheek.
Instinctively, I reach up and smack myself across the mouth, knocking my headphones off. I pick them up, the sun beats down on my neck.
Whitney Houston has lost half her volume. I place the headphones around my neck instead. A car peels around the corner. I don’t have time to wave.
The sun starts to burn when I realize I have to go to the bathroom, bad.
“Oh yeah, that’s why I left the country-side,” I tell the horse across the pond, starting to run.