Pedro Ávila

It seems too early in the year to be wondering where it’s all going. I am suffocated by the surrounding air, the same stale air of desperation as a man with a noose around his neck and his hands tied behind his back…

And yet.

Waiting and restraint are my dogma these days; my mantra. “Let the debris fall to the bottom and then pick up the pieces like an emotional vacuum cleaner” is what the voices seems to advise.

Nonsense. I tell you, there’s something fiendish out there that wants me unwell and it’ll stop at nothing to see it through. These voices would have me chowing on mediocrity and complacency like it was a well-crafted trail mix.

So, what to do in these harsh times? I try the city. The city does not welcome you out into its streets with open arms, especially when the temperature drops and the clouds darken like the inside of a caged heart; on the contrary, with a maddening indifference that shuns indiscriminately, it grimaces malicious intent. I head for friendly territory, the pads of friends, the bars they frequent and occasionally, I just plain old work late. Often I write, but sometimes…

I don’t know. I think that sometimes I don’t write because I’m afraid that I’ll start and not be able to finish; that I’m afraid of losing my thread; silly, of course, but I suspect it nonetheless. More likely, though, that I’m sometimes hampered by how terrified I might be if I start seeing what really wants to come out of my fingers when I put them to the keyboard. I am stupefied and deathly afraid of some of the things I may say even though in the past I’ve managed to not piss off everybody I know…

…then again, who knows WHO’s been reading this shit? You know?

Maybe I should try to remember when it was in my life that I was happiest, and see what it was that I was doing, who I was with, what was going on, what was I anticipating? And then see if I took a wrong turn and if so, head back in that direction, back to that road…

But I know that life is a one way street, and that although you can correct some of your mistakes, you can’t undo them. You can cover up the potholes but you’re still left with a patched-up street that is nothing close to smooth or level, and is still just a street full of filled in holes. I guess I can change, but I can’t change the way I once was or the things I did then.

So be it.

I’ve been satisfied with things before, this much I remember. I was content, not only with the way things were going but with my prospects, my outlooks. I guess that’s what most saddens me these days is that I’m on a different path; one that is leading me away from what I really want. A path wherein I look ahead of me and see days still in front of me that are marked only by the fading tan line of a band that weighs me down and that never fit me too well to begin with. A path that makes me feel limited, isolated from the path of my friends and family.

hmmm — yeah. I can’ t say anything else strikes me as important or significant except that I don’t want this anymore – any of it. Other symptoms are just that: symptoms. Travel, profession, education, social life… all these things are more limited than they were, and more desired than ever, but they are just symptoms. What matters is the choice I’ve already made, and that that’s what this has always been about.

I guess I’m terrified of being one of those guys that in the near future, someone will ask if I still write or what I ended up doing with this or that skill and that I had; if I had turned that into a tool for success, if I had milked my opportunities like I always promised myself that I would…had I become a writer? A traveler? A real leader? A man in any sense?

…and instead have to question all that I once thought I was because all I see is a shell floating on the sea, making no waves, leaving no wake, going absolutely nowhere. Working in a reasonably fun but pointless job, with less than no prospect of growth: no ambition to do so. Not writing anything more than a diary, and not an impressive word or phrase in it. Consuming every ounce of his will to exercise enough to simply slow-down the middle-age weight-gaining that is sure to follow. Satisfied but unquenched. Life will be an ejaculation with no orgasm.

Terrified because the one doing the asking is me, and knowing that I would, in fact, answer in this way.

Terrified that there’s no way back and that if the way out is forward that I may tire before I find my way.

Terrified of it all, really.

Harsh times, dudes. Harsh times indeed. But they say that this too, will pass.

Goddamn it — I hope it does.

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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