My Unlikely Pilgrimage

“I’m going for a walk,” I say to my flatmates. It’s the first truly sunny day of the year, and it has driven everyone in the city insane. Outside my flat, I pass a group of people playing cricket with a bat smaller than a rolling pin, the batter clumsily stumbling after a tennis ball when she inevitably misses it. She’d have better luck hitting it with a toothpick. The strain of running is taking its toll on her denim shorts, which are being slowly devoured by her body folds.

My original intention is to go to town and wander around aimlessly by myself, but as I reach the high street, a bizarre sensation comes over me. I’m not satisfied with simply walking to town. I’ll go up to that arch over there.

Yet as I get to it, I still feel like it’s not enough. Now, I’ll walk to that post box, and if that isn’t enough, I’ll go to that shop over there. Soon, the little way-points I set for myself meld into a pointless journey. I begin making my way up further, thinking only of walking; no real direction or destination, just making it up as I went along.

The warm sun is shining in my face, so I make a right after this junction, another right later to put it behind me. The road begins to slope uphill, gradually at first, then increasing sharply. The sun is setting and the air is getting colder when I finally stop after hours of walking. I find myself on a small green in the shadow of the cathedral, without really meaning to.

I’ve picked a spot on a wall to perch myself on to observe the world. My journalism lecturers always say to be constantly vigilant of everything happening around you – which is difficult for someone like me, who finds the view of my tan shoes a far more attractive option than eye contact.

Well, it’s never too late to try.

A group of children near the wall seem to be enjoying a game of pelt-grass-at-your-face, yanking clumps of it out of the ground as if they were making snowballs. One of them spits out a lump of grass and rescinds the offender’s right to cookies. I chuckle at their blissful ignorance, longing to return to a time where my needs were as simple as theirs. Now, the surface area of my tiny brain is constantly occupied by various and meaningless worries, prejudices and concerns – which makes for great paranoid writing, but isn’t exactly stellar to live with.

When I finally returned to the flat that night, no one was in, leaving the living area in a state of eerie silence. Just the way I like it.

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