Europe N to S: Looking for Trolls (6/24/16)

​Between Ifjord and Kunes – June 24, 2016

Today’s Miles: 19.6

Total Miles: 80.6

I push through the last few trees and stumble onto the road near Ifjord. I recognize the pavement from six days ago when I wandered a mile down it looking for a good place to hitch to Mehamn. It feels different under my feet now, part of the journey, not some place to stand and wait to begin.

I turn and walk toward the town’s small restaurant a few kilometers away, my feet glad for the flat pavement after days of uneven rock and tundra.

The clouds break into a light rain as I walk. After days of dodging rain, hiding in my tent, walking under an uneven ceiling of grey clouds, suffering through wind-whipped cold, I smile at the falling water and imagine the restaurant’s roof a mile away, a pile of French fries, water droplets racing down panes of glass.

“You’re too late,” I say to the rain. 

The grey sky smiles back as I pass a road sign and my eyes catch a bit of tape I missed six days ago.

I was hungry for a ride then, not food. The knife and fork icon was nothing to stare at, to dream about at night. It was only worth a glance before I turned the other way. I never saw the faded tape slapped over it strip by strip, like someone wanted to cover it up, like someone was tired of people expecting a restaurant where one no longer exists.

“No,” I think.

I know it’s gone then. At that moment, I know. But I walk anyway, holding onto that thin bit of hope as hunger growls through my stomach,th and the rain soaks into me.

The faded, dark building strangles any doubt. I stand in the rain looking at it. I plead with it to knock the dust off and come alive in front of me. I yell at my past self for not paying attention six days ago, for giving into the images of what would be waiting on this corner of road, for anticipating.

I beg, plead, and demand. 
Nothing changes.

The building remains as dark and closed as I found it. The rain continues to fall. I stand in the empty parking lot. 

There is nothing warm to eat, no glass to watch the rain behind, nothing but road and cold and rain.

Then I find it, a bridge a short way down the road, a flat bit of earth tucked under one side just off the riverbank. 

I slip underneath and the dry ground welcomes me. I watch the rain fall as trucks and cars rumble overhead, never knowing that I am there, hiding underneath the road, content and warm like a troll under a bridge. 

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2 thoughts on “Europe N to S: Looking for Trolls (6/24/16)

  1. Amazing how things we take for granted like a bridge can have a whole new meaning in an instant. Have you eaten any cod yet?

  2. I knew when “The grey sky smiled at me…” , what that uneasy foreboding would lead to and hoped you still had some ramen and instant potatoes! Time to learn to fish, as your Canadian friends tried to tell you!

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