Tucked up under a thick duvet with lavender oil sprinkled on my pillows, listening to the familiar creaks of a 1930’s semi-detached house and the faint buzz of suburban traffic. I lay there peacefully in savasana for a few moments until my heartbeat began to match the rhythmic ticks and tocks of my bedroom clock and the trickling pond waters below my open window soothed me into a deep and long subconscious state.
I was home.
Thank god I was home.
I’d expected to levitate my way back to Liverpool after a six-week spiritual retreat, looking like a dew-faced goddess with wide eyes and an extra-skinny waist. However, having spent the last ten days breaking every vow in the book, destroying my diet and changing up my sleeping conditions, I actually stepped off that plane looking, and feeling, like I’d just spent a month at Glasto.
Hostel from Hell
Three days staying at Villa Biniali and gallivanting around with the socialite of Sant Lluis meant that the much-loved body clock routine I’d developed at the mediation centre, the one that had me rising at the crack of dawn and hitting the pillow by nine, had been totally demolished. So all I craved, just for the next twenty-four little hours, was to dream.
I booked myself into a hostel for two nights ready for the slumber of a lifetime, but the romance between my head and the pillow just wasn’t meant to be.
There was an incessant coming and going of people, and every time somebody even moved an inch, the nine fluorescent strobes above our heads would light up the room, reflecting off the lime green walls and blinding me through my eye mask. No matter how far into my ears I pushed my earplugs, I could hear the shuffling of slippers, the creaking of beds, clothes coming off, clothes going on and people whispering loudly.
As night fell, the voices on the terrace got louder, a guitar was being strummed and the clinking off bottles became more frequent. By midnight, the winds were up and our paper-thin walls were rattling so much I thought they may actually fly away but I was so delirious from exhaustion at this point that I just didn’t care and my eyes were finally closing without effort.
Until, that was, that a tall, bronzed stranger wearing nothing but his overly tight black boxer shorts thought it was acceptable to stand next to my bed, bulge just inches from my face, and wrestle with the flapping window next to my head.
The guitar-playing gang filtered in from the terrace one by one and the room was becoming more and more overheated, so I hosted my very own wet-T-shirt competition under the sheets, pouring my last litre of water all over me to cool me down. The semi-naked window-wrestler had come back for a few more rounds, violating my half-closed eyes one thrusting facebuster at a time, and I was now also the victim of a microscopic mauling from a mob of ankle-loving mosquitoes.
It was like being in a torture chamber.
I decided my only chance at escaping this madness and getting even just a few minutes of sleep was to spend the night on the roof terrace, so I took my pillow and my sheet and headed for a sunlounger. The moon was lighting up the terrace and the stars were shining bright; it could have been a seriously romantic situation had I not been a soggy, sleep-deprived maniac, on my own and dithering.
There are three stars that make up part of Orion’s belt, that almost twenty years ago, my first boyfriend Gareth and I made ours. We still talk about it now; those stars ground us no matter where we are in the world, and they did for me that night. Those stars kept me sane as I grappled the winds for possession of my one and only sheet, praying for just a little bit of shut-eye.
Hibernation at Home
So that’s where I’ve been hibernating for the few days since my plane landed on home soil – tucked up underneath my covers, sulk-facing at my sleepiness, barely able to string a sentence together and dreaming a thousand dreams.
Sometimes hibernation is needed; a full recharge of the batteries, a refuel. But now that I’m fully recovered, I have exactly one week to enjoy the comforts of home before I head East.
One week to enjoy the sound of Scouse seagulls, which is oddly something I miss quite a lot when I’m away. One week to run laps around my favourite park. One week to hug it out with my nearest and dearest. One week of candlelit bubble baths and having a bedroom all to myself. One week to be surrounded by alright lad, hiya babe, g’weddd, boss, sound mate and all the other oddities Scouse vernacular has to offer. And one week to be heckled compliments by the only man who ever chats me up in real life – the homeless guy at the top of Bold Street who has a penchant for cow bags, top knots and kimonos.
It’s weird how the seasons blend into one another and we flick through calendar pages without even realising where the time is going. But with only seven days to enjoy autumn before heading for more heat and humidity, suddenly I’ve started noticing the crunch of every fallen leaf beneath my feet and ambling along auburn-coloured avenues has turned into a slow-motion film.
A little bit of hibernation, a little bit of home and I’ll be ready for my next nomadic adventure.