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The Mysterious Head Under My Bed

mollina.jpg

October in Spain is quite cold for me, it’s about 12-15 degrees and though it’s already 6:00 in the morning, the sun has not come up yet. I’m used to morning sunshine in my country when the sun is up at a little before or after 5:30 in the morning. It’s my last day today in Mollina, and my things are all packed up. My roomy, Ena from Estonia, is leaving at 11am and I’m leaving at 4pm later. We have been eating our breakfast, lunch and dinner together since day 1 of the youth seminar, and sometimes with some of our groupies. And today is no different. We walk together to the University cafeteria, which is very near our dorm. We pass by a stray brown dog which has been going around the University for several days already. At the cafeteria, we have the usual breakfast: yogurt, toasted bread with cheese and eggs, coffee and blood orange, and more stories.
I remember when she said to me on the first day that she was hoping she’d get a roommate who would be nice to her or would not have unnecessary tension because of personal and social differences. She said that when she saw my name, she thought I was British and was afraid that I’d be like other British people she met in other workshops and conferences who seemed to be so feisty and snobbish. But when she saw me for the first time, she felt relieved, and we got a long in no time.

Ena is 26 years old but she looks young for her age. She has light honey-brown hair and greenish/bluish eyes. She wears thick glasses and big smile all the time. She always wears long cotton-light printed skirts, which I like a lot; a pair of sandals; and carries a blue hooded sweater if in case the temperature suddenly drops. She seems to know a lot of people, or it seems a lot of people from different European youth organizations know her. She says, “Most of us meet in the same conferences, and we have a lot here in Europe.” Both of us are quite shy and quiet unless we are in a discussion or debates, or when we need to give our in-put. We talk a lot on issues that need to be tackled. We say our opinions as needed and we participate actively in the activities. Both of us don’t smoke; and although both us love to dance, we don’t get to stay in Paco’s, the nearest and only bar in the area where young people in the workshop swarm in at night, right after the last activity which lasts until 12mn. There are 200 young participants from across the world, and there’s only one bar in the area, which is quite small. Even if I want to mingle and get to know other participants while drinking beer or vodka with them, I will die in cigarette smoke. For this reason, Ena and I spend most of our free time exchanging stories about our volunteer work and about our countries while the rest of the participants are dancing in the bar. It is only at night when the whole University is so quiet, and you can hardly see people around.

I help her carry her luggage as our room is almost on the other end of the centre from the parking. We promise that if any of us gets the chance to be in each other’s country, we will have to inform one another to have a get together and be each other’s tour guide.

It feels sad that the University is getting quieter each hour as participants leave. Suddenly, Mollina becomes a remote place. It does not feel like it belongs to Spain anymore. Spain that is lively and colorful and full of foreigners, which include me. There are very few houses and few cars passing by, after all there are less than 4000 people living in Mollina.

Ena waves goodbye as she boards the bus; and I turn around and move back to our room. The sound of the closing door resembles the silence that surrounds the whole University. Where is everybody? Perhaps, packing their stuff now and readying themselves to go back home. The placidity of the room and my own contemplation of going back home all of a sudden snaps as I hear a movement under my bed. For a moment I freeze in fear. I can’t seem to think, not even to run when the door is just behind me. I just stand there, waiting for something to come out from under the bed. Then slowly, a pepper-and-salt colored hairy head appears. I feel goose-bumps all over my body. I suddenly look at my witch-doll on top of my desk beside my bed—a doll of a beautiful smiling old granny, holding a broomstick and wearing a pointed black hat—she seems to have a wider smile than ever, and her cheeks seem to glow rosier than before. I bought her yesterday in a small spiritualist shop in Granada. What’s this?! I feel like the old lady doll is playing tricks on me. My eyes move back to the hairy thing under my bed, this time, I get the whole picture of what this creature looks like. It’s a dog, no doubt. But how did it get in, when windows and the doors were closed before Ena and I left? It’s totally ok to have a dog inside my room when you see it entering your room unlike this one; I’ve never seen this particular dog wandering around. My heart beats faster than ever. I, carefully, open the door behind me without moving my eyes away from the dog. In my mind, I ask him, “Please, leave my room because you are scaring me. Please. Please.” As if he understands me, as if he can read my mind, or probably the facial expression that shows fear, he lifts his head and crawls out of my bed and leaves my room. I shut the door so quickly and lock it. My hair still stands on its end and my heartbeat is noisier than the surrounding. I shut my eyes as I try to calm myself. I hear knocks on my door and my window. It’s the dog, it’s calling me. I can’t possibly let him in; I’m too scared to do that. I remember the untouched French bread I had from yesterday’s Granada trip. I only ate the cheese inside and saved the bread if I’d need it. I will give this bread to the dog, he is probably hungry. He keeps on knocking, the kind of knock that’s like from a person who’s in a hurry to get in. He tries to feel me; if I don’t open the door he moves next to the window, jumping, as if checking if I’m still there. When he stops knocking, I hear him making a sound, as if cooing. That’s the time when I decide to bring him the food. I open the door slightly, just enough to give him the bread which I’ve shredded while waiting for the right time to come out. After placing the bread on the outside doorstep, I again close the door. I watch him through the glass window. He’s looking at me. I nod my head to signal him to eat the bread and that’s the only time he starts eating the pieces of bread. He eats unhurriedly and turns his head towards me once in a while. When he finishes his food, he sits on my doorstep. I, on the other hand, go back to my bed and lay there for a while in a stupor. When I wake up, I check if the dog is still outside my room. But he’s not there anymore. I then pick up all the other things that I need to put in my luggage. My witch-doll, I have to carry in my right hand, like a little girl carrying her Barbie.

My other friends are already in the parking lot, waiting for the buses to arrive. It’s already 3 in the afternoon. When my bus arrives, I immediately put my luggage in the compartment; and my small bag and granny on my seat. I want to say goodbye to friends who are still waiting in the parking lot and so I step out of the bus. I bid farewell to friends and from a far, there’s seems to be another one who wants to say goodbye. In the middle of the crowd and the huge parking lot, this hairy guy, an Otterhound who a couple of hours ago scared me to death, is here right in front of me. He looks up at me while I look down at him, smiling. Mentally, I say sorry to him for being so scared and for asking him to leave my room. I really feel he understands me, even if I talk to him in English and not in Spanish. He bows his head and I pat him. He looks at me again, kneels down, and kisses my feet 3 times. He freezes me again for the second time but this time, with amazement and buoyancy.

The last day in Mollina will definitely last forever.

(open for embellishment)

ceulaj2.jpg
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Comments

jap21's picture

Beautiful writing

It seems to me that I know Molina already. I could feel your feelings, taste what you have flavored. That is what you achieved through this beautiful writing.

Thank you for introducing me to this part of your llife.

Love you lots,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

katea's picture

my nurturing world pulse teacher!

Jackie,
I would never forget to say thank you all the time for making me feel good. This is one of my travelogues about Spain, especially Malaga and Granada.

I try to think that I actually have a deadline every week so I can finish everything. But I really do have a deadline. And this is my first draft, I don't even know if my mentor will ask me to change this or what. I don't want to edit it now but if you have suggestions on how I can improve my writing and this particular essay, I'm more than glad to do it.

much love,
katea

Poverty is man-made that we can undo.

jap21's picture

Let me know

Let me know if you decide to change anything, OK? Thanks for your kind words. I honestly think I am not that good!

Love ya,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

Tina's picture

Mysterious and magical

Hey Katea,
Great to have you back online writing your vivid travelogues.

Sorry you and your new friend have encountered the snobby standoffishness of some Brits. (Yes I know that's not a word, but I couldn't think of a better one). Anyway, we're not all like that! Really...

Kisses
Tina x

katea's picture

another nurturing friend!

Dear Tina,
I knew already that the first three people who put their comments about my journal would be you, Jackie and Maria!!! I'm really lucky to have the three of you who are always ready to read the stuff I post.

I don't know if this essay has the same quality as the other two I posted. It's harder to write something mysterious and magical cos it has a lot to do with tone and the use of language. And, while I was writing this one, I didn't seem to have enough words to capture the kind of mystery I wanted to show. But hopefully, it kinda worked here. I had a hard time judging my own work.

I have great British friends! Most of the Brits I met were really nice to me and they also helped me in my writing. Ena just probably had a bad experience with them but so far, I never had one. Or if I had, it was a short tension.

I will be spending more time writing and reading the posts here on WorldPulse. I'm so looking forward to reading yours.

I am totally back.

much love,
katea

Poverty is man-made that we can undo.

Maria de Chirikof's picture

A nice story!

I really enjoyed reading this and am also glad to see you back here with us! How is everything going? Write lot's mor journals!

love,

Maria

katea's picture

cos i have super nice friends here

Dear Maria,
Thank you so much for the comment. I'm happy I get to write again. My school will be closed for 10 days starting tomorrow cos one of the students from an international travel is infected my A H1N1. On the brighter side, I'm going to write everyday for 10 days :) How about you and your daughters? How are they?

much love,
katea

Poverty is man-made that we can undo.

JaniceW's picture

Enjoyed reading your story

Katea,
It is so great to read your posts again and I am glad that you did not catch the virus.

You asked us how you might improve your writing and I think you have achieved much in creating the visuals in our minds. This helps draw the reader into your story as it is as if they were there too, experiencing the same fear and then relief. One of my favourite poets, Chilean Pablo Neruda, used metaphors to enhance his writing. He might say "the sky weeps" to mean "it is raining." I think this is a great tool to use when thinking about what you want to say.

For example, when you say "I will die in cigarette smoke", perhaps that could be turned around to say something like "the cloud of nicotine wraps itself around my body and slowly suffocates me".

I am excited to see what you share with us over the next 10 days and am so happy that you are back amongst us. We missed you!

katea's picture

Yes to metaphors!

Hi Janice,
Wow! I am so thrilled to see that you have something written for me!!! Yes, Pablo Neruda is one of my all time favorite poets! I agree, I should work on the level of the metaphor as well. When I get to revise this one, I will definitely include your suggestion. Right now, I just have to keep the words and creative juice flowing.

Well, the last time I had fever and flu was 10 years ago. Seriously, my immune system works really well. I go for natural medicine, so I have 1500mg of vitamin C everyday. Especially, it's been raining here everyday. I learned that vit.c. also acts as a magnet and helps flush down "foreign" and toxic substances left by taking other drugs, that's why it's also kind of laxative. But of course, cleanliness is really important too to prevent sickness and contamination. When any of my friends or family members catches cold, I just ask the person to drink ginger tea (2-3 slices of ginger boiled in 1 cup of water) and garlic extract (in capsule) because both ginger and garlic warm the body and eventually kill the bacteria and stop the virus. It works all the time! That's how far I can go for natural healing, as of now. I've been reading natural medicine and natural healing, especially Asian medicine.

Anyway, how are you? Hope you are doing great. I'm excited to read what the Correspondents have to write!

take care!

love always,
katea

Poverty is man-made that we can undo.

JaniceW's picture

Ginger Tea

Katea,
I have heard that ginger is very good for colds and you would think, being chinese, I would be drinking this every day! I have written down your "recipe" so that next time I get a cold, I can heal myself. I have been raised on western medicine but my father still very much believes in chinese herbal remedies.

On this subject, you might like to connect with our new member, Medina, who belongs to a women's health collective here in Portland and they discuss and explore ideas about alternative medicines, herbalism, midwifery, etc... She can be found at:

http://worldpulse.com/user/2209

I am so happy that you are also a fan of Neruda. I go back to his writing again and again, as he writes with such passion and beauty. Did you know that in order to break from poverty, he took up a Consular post in Rangoon, and then later, he worked in Colombo (Ceylon), Batavia (Java), and Singapore. I'm not sure if he ever made it to the Philippines. Do you know?

katea's picture

Great!

Thank you Janice for the link! I will be contributing there soon. Ancient knowledge, like traditional healing, never fades.

About Neruda, hmmm, interesting. I will check if he ever made it to my country. I read his poem in my leadership training in Italy, as part of the cultural program. I should have read a Filipino writer but it was impromptu so I decided to read his poem, "If you forget me." Some of my friends even cried when I read it!

take care!

Poverty is man-made that we can undo.

Kizzie's picture

You are a really good writer!

You are a really good writer! I love your description of Ena:) What is this youth seminar called?

katea's picture

Thank you Kizzie

Dear Kizzie,
I'm glad you liked my story and thank you for the comment. It's Global Education and Youth Seminar. The Council of Europe supports the program so every year, 300 youth from all over the globe are invited to participate. Would you like to be part of it? There's an umbrella organization for Africans and Europeans and they have activities at least 4 times a year, and it includes this world-wide seminar. Last year was an intercultural dialogue but I did not attend it cos of my schedule. Anyway, if you are interested, let me know. I will send you the invites. :)

take care and hope to hearing from you soon!

love always,
katea

Poverty is man-made that we can undo.

JaniceW's picture

Sounds Interesting

Katea, I am including the link for the Youth Seminar as I think many other members will be interested in it. Maybe when you have time, you could share with us your thoughts on the program and what you learnt.

http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/nscentre/default_EN.asp

Kizzie's picture

I would love to know more

I would love to know more about it. I really like traveling and meeting new people! Continue sharing your witty writing with us:)

katea's picture

here goes

Hi Kizzie,
Janice attached the link. But please check these sites as well:
http://www.yeu-international.org/
http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/nscentre/Youth%5CUYD%5CUYD_EA1_LTTC_en.pdf

good luck!

Poverty is man-made that we can undo.

Kizzie's picture

Thanks for the links Katea. I

Thanks for the links Katea. I hope I can participate in such an exciting workshop!

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