I walked past by 499 directly to 565. Where the hell was 504? Was the universe on some kind of conspiracy against me?
I asked two men passing by if they knew the hostel. One of them, the youngest, took out his phone and searched it on maps. I wanted to take my rucksack and put it on the floor so I could rest my shoulders, but I didn’t want to look weaker than I already was with my fluttering voice and quick breath. I was still getting used to the altitude in the Andes. Instead, I shifted constantly the weight on my back.
The hostel was ever further. I kept walking and when I finally saw it, it was on top of a steep staircase, every time I lifted one leg to take another step I felt the weight of the bag leaning me backwards.
Cusco was a city that seemed to not have been touch by time at its fullest. You could hear the occasional noise of cars but they were mostly muffled by the sound of screaming children playing, the birds chippering, and tourists talking all over the restaurants. Sometimes even the clock made its presence duly noted.
I sat on one of the park bench people watching while I wrote on my notebook. Everyone was travelling in pairs or with their families and I never felt more alone. How was I gonna make those four months when every second that passed I was constantly reminded of something I had not allowed myself to think about for so long? When there was no distraction, no one to keep me busy?
An old woman sat next to me asking me if I was writing on my diary. I tried to explain to her in the little broken Spanish I knew that I was a writer, I was surprised when more Spanish words came out of my mouth I had never been able to have a conversation with Spanish people when I’d tried before. I guess it really was true that you need to be in the country to learn a language. But as she started talking about how she was a divorced women with the same number of children my mother had, and go figure… one of them even had my name, I realized I was being scammed. Still I did not accept to buy anything from her, gave her a few alms and she left contempt.