Maybe I’m going to be great at this: independence. That’s once I take care of the constantly 'getting lost and robbed' issue ofcourse.
I sit legs crossed, the hem of my large sock exposed, alone in the train station. Head laid back. Earphones on. The lyrics of Black Keys' Gold on the Ceiling flowing into my ears, then making their way out of my mouth. I don’t care about the lines of people across the railroad. The vehicles' exhaust fume doesn’t matter either.
For a moment, I feel great. I feel really young. And free.
And I’m immediately struck by how much I love my independence. How much I enjoy being alone. I remember a few times when I was alone and a friend called to come over. I felt a little dread, a little discomfort. It was nothing wrong with her. I love her.
I just feel selfish with my time. I want to keep wandering aimlessly. Or to trespass. Or simply listen to music, absentmindedly roaming the streets. I love discovering hidden little cafes in this city. I love being pleasantly surprised by their chic beauty and embarrassed by the typos on their menus. I love going with little money to have a little meal anywhere I can afford (while hoping I don’t get food-poisoned) so I do not know what exactly is waiting for me. If I have money, I would not take small risks in small random places to save money. I wouldn’t bother myself with those little adventures. So it’s probably better for me to be quite broke at all times. The other day, I got lost on my way to an art academy. On my way back to the right way, I discovered a river. Kotebe river. God, few lovely things are as neglected as rivers in this city. I sat down on the bridge edge to sketch part of the landscape. It may have been quite a precarious position. A passerby stopped to ask if I was comfortable. He basically wanted me to get off the edge. He suggested I rather stand and sketch so people wouldn’t come to check on me. Another passerby, an elderly lady with kind eyes, had stopped and fervently agreed with the young man. She also added her own words and blessed him for giving me advice. Man, I love this city and it’s caring, nosy people! I got off.
The thing is after eighteen years of living like a pampered prisoner, the simple pleasures taste that much sweeter and the daily hassles of a wild city like Addis much more bearable. Freedom comes from the little things.
I push myself into the crowded train.