I come home and eat the foods of Peru–palta, mango, quinoa, mate de coca. I am not caked in sunscreen. Remember the walk back from Laguna de Huacarpay and you passed through the families doing their washing and the smell of laundry soap was so potent you wanted to sit and stare, but instead you kept walking to town because you were hungry and Cusco was further away than you liked.
At the restaurant last night, I read the menu in vague recognition. Too much meat, too much bread…I forgot how to order a beer. “I’ll have the cider?” The waiter looked at me with confusion and dissatisfaction.
I will be okay.
I tell myself this is false: you are okay.
Isn’t this the point? To travel to break to gain new footing, new perspective. I stand in the crowd, small and cold. I don’t know what I’m doing here. I shouldn’t be here. I have nowhere else to go. I finally washed my water bottle of the Peruvian bathrooms, buses, trains, MaPi dirt, Inca rocks. I remember the sweetness of the boiled water. I throw away the receipts of soles spent. I can do this. I am doing this. I am grateful. You want to recognize gratitude. The flavor is not what I expect.