The Widening

In the spring semester, she decided, she would go to Spain. In Spain she wouldn’t know anyone. No one person’s not calling, no one person’s touch, no one person’s breath or heartbeat binding her, slave, shadow, child. She thought it out one evening at her desk, daydreaming instead of studying. She had enough credits to graduate but would enroll in a school to avoid living with a family. One family was enough. Writing in her journal, she felt inspired. She could start off at the school, and then she could travel. She wouldn’t need an itinerary. She wouldn’t travel like a conventional tourist, like her parents, making plans and reservations, sticking to fixed ideas about where to go, where to stay, which museums, parks, and churches not to miss, where to eat, the hour, what to order, and the next day, what to admire, what to buy. She thought that if you culled and clipped your ideas from Gourmet magazine and the Sunday Times travel section, then you left no room for the experience itself—for its adventure. She would learn as she went along. She would come and go as it pleased her, without interference, without authorization or guidance. Writing about it gave her confidence and transformed what had seemed a wild daydream into a definite plan, with its own independent logic and momentum.

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