Pedro Ávila

For whom the bells toll, I have not been made aware. But it tolls – this I know.

I return, however briefly. This, in the business is called foreshadowing and I probably just totally ruined it by calling attention to it. Oh well.

Yeah, it was a sabbatical of sorts that was neither desired nor necessary but thrown on me just the same. Sometimes, we do what we want to; the rest of the time we do what we have to. I’m not one to complain, but, shit, who the hell likes to stop doing what they like in order to do something they don’t, know what I mean?

Time has gone by with a slow breathing rhythm equal to the forced pulling of a tooth. It wasn’t pleasant: minutes took hours and days never ended. The mind, in this rush of problems, this weight and this pressure to perform, outperform and then maintain, it does not rest; it cannot turn off. Like a ship’s captain, even when I’m asleep my thoughts have focus; they have resolution. No, friends; there is no rest for the wicked just like there is no salvation for the damned, or for traveling consultants.

I find it almost too easy to digress into unimaginable tangents what with the sheer size of my shit-to-write-about list. It piles on up with no outlet but work, into which I dive every night in order to escape the maddening fury that has been my brain in the days past. And engrossed in work is no way to tame a subconscious. Yet mine has gone ape-shit with dementia, paranoia and doubt. At the moment I have not the clarity that it would take to combat such a dangerous adversary.

It isn’t so much that I lack the courage, but more that I own too much sense. Here, on the edge of insanity, the two are nearly indistinguishable. I seek the proper tools with which to rope myself back into my own reality or else shove myself over the pit into whatever awaits on the other side. As always, it’s the method that eludes me.

In the meantime, writing in this puppy seems as good an idea as any.Who knows? With a little determination I may just get through this one. It’s important because where I am, the distractions are finally few, even if they are intense as all hell. And in my state, distractions can define which way you fall on the edge of that abyss.

You see what I mean? I digress.

Friday comes, at long last. A half-finished bottle of wine sits on my desk in the Quality Inn of Alphaville. It’s the result of the brutal need to get away from work in last night’s attempt to blitz the subconscious, mostly with few results. A towel hangs from the door from the third shower today; my latest attempt at retaining consciousness in this state. Power cables and Ethernet cords litter the work area, if not the living space. Banana peels and tangerine skins litter every corner of the room because it’s not my fault that this place doesn’t have enough trash cans.

My closet is in good order, though, and I’ve just discovered that a bus leaves on the hour, every hour until 22:00 bound for parts unknown in the interior of São Paulo, which is fine with me. It seems like a good idea to spend a few hours staring out of a moving bus surging through poorly maintained roads in the depth of Brazilian farmlands.

That and I don’t have any other weekend plans.

I straighten things out, roughly, but I leave plenty for the maids to do. Packing is easy and in 7 minutes I have enough of what I need in a small backpack. A bag of carrots for the road and a water bottle which should be adequate in the state I’m in. Jeans and a leather jacket for the rural night. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, for good measure.

I turn the bottle of wine on general principle and then walk out, not even thinking of looking back.

… to  be continued

Ok. Continued.

As the alcohol of the upturned bottle of wine filled my arteries I was inevitably en route to wherever the hell it was that my bus was taking me. Hopefully there would be a bed waiting for me there – wherever the hell it was that I had thrust myself towards most recently.


Regardless of how I got here or my mental or physical state when I did, I find myself on a bus bound for hardly a determined destination in the interior of Minas Gerais in Brazil: a heading – that’s about all they’ll give you, which may suit you if you’ve memorized the Google Maps interface, though few people have.

Jesus, do I really have to poison myself this much in order to put words on into text files?

City lights do me in. They affect me, especially when the temperature drops 10 degrees in a matter of days. The absence of the familiar heat from the months past knocks over all notions of security and certainty about anything. When you can’t count on anything – even the weather – you find yourself questioning your very being, your existence in what has suddenly become a meaningless tangled mess of so-called facts and events that are either remembered or else told third and fourth-hand.

Yet I stare at the city lights and their resulting glare for endless minutes that may as well have been months. I stare at the cold concrete structures, at the flimsy light bulbs inside of all the homes of people that I’d never care to meet, at the dark cemetery across the street that seems so utterly pointless. I look at my reflection on the window of the bus, and sometimes I just sit there, wondering who it is, exactly, that’s looking back.

Sometimes, as I stare, I wonder if a move, a change isn’t what would cure me of this ail. I am, after all, a dynamic type of being, whose roots never seem to get beyond the first year point 5…no soil seems to contain the nutrients that I need to survive longer than that, be that soil a hobby or a female. Perhaps new and unknown Terra under my feet is the solution these feelings I get, as if it’s always November. Like I can’t gather the courage for a smile on my lips if I haven’t made an unrecognized snide remark all day, or knocked off some stranger’s hat.

Don’t ask.

What I need is good company, even if it’s my own, and time leaves me wondering if all my wonderings serve any purpose whatsoever…

I wonder, still.

Pedro Ávila Pedro Ávila

For a reasonably sane & productive member of society (arguable, but let’s not complicate things), I’m far too mobile and unrooted. I travel quite a bit for a job that is simultaneously my greatest privilege and my worst burden.

So I write. And I write. Travel pieces, political journalism (a stretch from ranting but, still), short stories, poetry and other such riff-raff. I contribute to a handful of publications and will probably just keep going until something gives out, or someone gives in.


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