Lena loved to move.
Through space, through life and across lands.
The first thing she ever learned when travelling is that, as you land, the lights dotted along the skyline will take your breath away.
One summer she crept onto roofs in Barcelona waiting for nightfall. Against the purple sky, lights twinkled back at her, the warm air rushing over her, her wine-kissed lips chapped against the sea air.
In movement, she felt free. Each new place cast a spell on her—she walked differently. Sometimes a stride of confidence, sometimes one of fear.
Her mother often asked her: “When are you going to settle down? When will your heart be still?”
She couldn’t answer.
Her mind was often so cluttered. A voice would whisper darkness into her ear. When she couldn’t move, she woke up, either alone or with a lover, in despair.
Many nights she’d walk along the train tracks behind her childhood home, wondering if she’d be hit and if she’d be grateful. Or, sometimes, she wondered if she could run fast enough to hop onto the train and ride it to places unknown.
Bright lights were a beacon of hope; new experiences and people.
On sleepless nights, she curled up by the window waiting for sunlight. Her body marked by tiny incisions from the past, she thought about each scar—a map of the past. She wondered why there weren’t passports for sorrow. To mark the ebb and flow of sadness and joy, destruction and rebuilding, regression and growth.
Once, when she was in the hospital, she booked a flight on her phone.
The nurse screamed at Lena but it didn’t really matter. The nurse’s words sounded warped, gargled even, the onslaught of disappointment and disbelief drifted over her. All she could hear was the sound of the ocean. She closed her eyes.
She heard the blaring sound of the train horn and raced along the tracks, dawn rising behind her.
these words by Nailah King were inspired by the work of Lin Bao Ling