Because travel is just regular life, displaced, regular things go wrong. A missed flight in Guadalajara, for example, is a lesson in how quickly expectations can plummet. You downshift from being annoyed at a delay—convinced the airline will have to do A LOT to win back your favor—to begging said airline for any ticket out of Mexico, at any price. There are pleading conversations in Spanish at every airline counter in which you learn that the next flight to Tijuana doesn’t leave for three more days, and eventually there are hundreds of dollars you didn’t plan to spend.
There will be other, more minor annoyances: bureaucratic hiccups due to a lost wallet, sitting immobile on tarmacs, the discomfort of long travel days. One morning, shortly after arriving in Spain, you fall under the spell of an unnamed virus. It pulls you down and keeps you pressed flat to the mattress for four days, never able to sleep enough, rolling in and out on the tides of fever dreams.
To be sick in this apartment feels like being seasick. You are wobbly and dizzy in the cabin of a bright white boat, sailing above the surfers and tourists on Zurriola Beach. You float above the world in a haze of half-consciousness. Through the windows you watch life go on, tides following the moon, sun rising and washing the room in too much light. One morning you dream you are bodyboarding a shorebreak and being dashed, again and again, into the sand. The light presses a fist into your head. You wake up sweating in the pool of sunshine, the white bed and the white walls burning in this small ship of a studio.
On the fourth day the fever is gone. When you stand up from bed your legs don’t shake; the floor has stopped rolling beneath you. The day is washed clean again after a rainstorm and sea air gusts down the narrow streets. You walk a slow circle around the neighborhood and duck into a corner store with crates of fruit stacked outside. You buy four peaches for one euro and carry their fragrance home in a paper bag. Standing at the window you eat slice after slice of peach, early summer breaking on your tongue.