I’ve ended up in lots of cities on whim alone and I ended up in New Orleans twice. Each time for a different conference and each time I snuck out to feel the waves of winds tremble in my fingers when the dead walked right through me. I didn’t return to any graveyards knowing that was my issue the first time. The way they followed me home and snarling. They way they wanted me to say their names. The way it was in December: the first vibration of my floorboards. I went to the same reader twice. Each time, I was assured. Hydrated. I was called darling. I was looked over with tender curiosity, a visitor but some unnamed breadth to me. She was looking through me to test my transparency. I was limpid having once been a dusky vapor, returned to self a crystalline child; emptied and not wanting to be full again. Only in front of her. I needed her to see things accurately. The stakes had been raised. Disappointed but avid, I wanted the same man and I wanted to tell him about the year following him. The coffin of psychosis and the habitual reordering of items in my apartment. The cleaning. The women I fucked. The men I hassled. But it was a woman and she was fixated on Hawaii.
“You ever been to Hawaii?”
“No. I’ve thought about it though.”
“I think you’re gonna go there.”
She said it many times. Hawaii. You’re gonna go there. Definitely being called to Hawaii. I thought Hawaii was beautiful and she showed me the way the leaves formed kind of a volcano and I blinked. There are many volcanoes actually.
“Lots of place. Many places. Travel far and wide.”
She looked me in the eye.
“You’re going to end up in the west coast.”
I accidentally growled.
“You’re not happy about it but you will.”
I wanted to tell the man I almost moved back to Colorado. I wanted to tell the man I had visions upon visions of a woman with green eyes and a crooked smile and sometimes in my dreams, I had green eyes and a crooked smile. I wanted to tell the man that I once tried to get to Barcelona on a Canadian passport. I wanted to tell him I made it there anyway and navigated the entire country and Portugal knowing no Portuguese, very little Spanish and spent some time in Morocco during Ramadan without a cell phone and only American currency and no hotel to sleep in when we arrived and the whole city asleep for holiday. We spoke no Farsi but covered our heads and arms and legs and my friend cried in the taxi. I smiled because I saw four sharks on the ferry over, never having seen them up close like that. She cried because I asked men for help everywhere we went. She didn’t like free dinners and I showed her seven euros in our pockets.
“Let them pay,” I said. “They like it.”
“You will meet many people,” she said. “Remember what it felt like with them the first time. When you first met. When you feel unsure about them, go back.”
She said I would go everywhere, have whatever job I wanted, get training when I need it and land on my feet. A feline. It was no shock to me the day I showed up to the JFK airport on my way to Barcelona with only an expired passport and a Canadian passport and no explanation about how my usual meticulous manner had fallen apart. I couldn’t explain to anyone how I ended up in Barcelona the next day, cutting my trip only a day short like I had just forgotten it at home and rebooked the flight. Not that I had to sit in a New York waiting room for three hours to get an expedited one faster than any other person in that waiting room as I charged my phone, as I argued with my airline. And on the only day they were running workshops that month. We found the one workshop in Manhattan. And in under 12 hours. I wanted to tell the man I ended up in Moscow on that trip that year. I wanted to tell him I thought they might be right. I wanted to pull the evidence from my pocket; the scroll I received from the fortune cookie I was given and devoured on my sixteen hour flight from Moscow to New York City. It says in both Russian and English: He who stands at the place, goes back.
The day I arrived in Barcelona the first time, I said Hola so loudly you would have thought I was born there. But then nothing else so clearly.
“The woman who followed the men” or “The vampire story”