Runaway

On Saturday I ran away.

I packed a bag, called a taxi to the railway station, and didn’t stop moving until I was at the sea.

With a notebook on my knee, a pen in my right hand, and a loaded chip fork in my left, I listened to the waves and I wrote.

After a couple of hours, my handwriting became unrecognisable and I needed a new notebook.

A short walk, £2.99, and 200 fresh pages later, I checked into a hotel. It was dated, with stained ceilings and soft, gold fabric. They had Margaret Atwood books on the bookshelf and The Phantom of the Opera played in the lobby.

It wasn’t until my muscles melted into the clean white sheets of the bed, I realised that I couldn’t remember the last time I wasn’t tense. The sun came in a triangle through the window and warmed my feet. I wrote until I fell asleep and when I woke up, I wrote some more.

With an alive mind and an exhausted body, I opted to eat dinner at the hotel. At my corner table for one, I was brought farmhouse pate and melba toast, mushroom soup, roast lamb and strawberry cheesecake. It took me several hours and a carafe of chenin blanc to get through it all. I never eat that much, but I didn’t struggle.

On Sunday morning, I walked for miles across the empty beach. I walked until the first beach cafe opened, bought a cup of tea and sat down for more hours still, to write some more.

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And then, just as quickly as this flow of writing had started, it stopped. I had emptied myself of words.

When I stood up, I felt it. Lightheadedness wasn’t just the sensation, it was the reality. The morning sky came through even my closed eyelids as an orange light, shining into my uninhabited mind.

What needed to happen had happened. I checked-out of the hotel and travelled home.

When you start to feel consumed (and I mean that in the very sense of the word: eaten up, bit by bit) by everything that your everyday is, sometimes you have to run away and not stop until you’re at the sea. Sometimes you have to host a controlled word explosion until there’s nothing left to come out.

Self-care, self-love, self-compassion. Always, always, always.

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