cherries

by chee rabbits

British Summer Time

Week 30 of 2023

-- sorry this is so late, I had no internet until now --

The Lavamais self-service laundry room is a peaceful public space. I’m alone here right now, with nothing but the sound of machine #1 gently spinning. I’m washing a few dresses, a skirt and a t-shirt so that I might have clean clothes for a few more days of Portugal. Yesterday there was a gentleman here who’d had his bag stolen. The bag contained his ID, his wallet, and his car keys. He’s trapped in Castelo Branco until his car company can send him a new set of keys. Two days after Boom everyone in Castelo Branco town centre is a victim of something, suffering some inconvenience or another. They’re all smiling, they’re all helping each other.

A ver.

On Monday I remember dancing on Funky Beach with Ciara and my steward 🌩️ . Ciara’d been like “there’s no dance floor?” And then they started dancing and then there was a dance floor. They were happy and I went to the lake and got wet. I was in a daze drying off in the sun and a nice stranger came up and gave me a very loving hug. The beach looks like the ocean at Funky Beach.

To the left of us: a rocky, sharp, hostile forest. To the right of us: a sharp, rocky, harsh woodland. Behind us: a sandy, rock-filled hill of hostile ground and tents and trees (and a bar). To our front: 10 meters of steep silver sand before a bright blue lake. The sun baring down on us, but gentler than the day before. The light had a yellow-white quality.

Spent a lovely time by a bush near Central Plaza later, sharing sparkly moments with Polly. Sometimes it feels that there are real dimensional boundaries here because I only meet certain people alone, and others only when I’m with people I’ve met them with before. Maybe it has something to do with all those archways they have scattered around.

Sometimes there will be a ripple of whoops and cheers that will make its way all around the lake. It ripples out in all directions from a single point like dropping a pebble in the water. I hoped I’d see the start of one, but I was even luckier, I got to be part of the start of one. We held hands in a circle and honked like geese. That was joyous, we were glittering, the sun was bright and the sand was soft and the air was clean.

After a large spoon of ketamine, I walked out into the water and summoned Babalon. I dipped my head under the water and got some in my left ear and was asymmetrical for a day.

At the dance temple Katya felt uncertain. “I don’t know what to do, there are so many options. Do I go with them? Do I go with you?” At this very moment a large white parasol took her by the face and dragged her backwards 3 or 4 steps. A message from god to go with the flow and let herself be carried away. In reality the umbrella was in the hand of a toned hippy, but in my memory it is like a cartoon and the thing flies over and carries her away into the sky on the wind.

I’ve just moved my clothes to the dry cycle here in this laundromat. It’ll be another 14 mins then I’ll pack back up and limp shoeless to the bus station where I’ll hope to find they have a bus to Lisbon on a Sunday. But if they don’t, I will be OK. There’s another customer here cleaning up the laundromat with a brush and pan just because otherwise how will it stay clean. I love it here. Maybe I don’t want there to be a bus.

Thanks for being with me, talking with me, spending all that time with me. It was so much fun, I even enjoyed the hard parts, and I wouldn’t have survived the festival without you. Sorry if I made it harder than it should be sometimes, I’m still learning too.

On the last day of the festival, on the final night, during the final show at the main stage I saw that old out-of-time hippy again. Bright white hair, looking like a merry prankster. I asked him “oh, do you have any of that acid to sell?” he said “fuck selling!” And then gestured at me to open my mouth. I opened my mouth. He took out his dropper. I was expecting a droplet.

—You see, I’d met him a week ago, first day of the festival. He’d told me “if any of your friends want to buy acid, tell them about me and let them know I have the good stuff” before dropping a little droplet on my hand so I could lick it off. “I’m very sensitive to psychedelics” I’d told him. “Well, this is the good stuff,” he’d said—

I opened my mouth. He took out his dropper. I was expecting another droplet. He squeezes that dropper like he’s drying out a cloth. There is liquid acid pouring down my lips. Rolling around my mouth. Even if I’d spat it out it would still be more acid than I’ve ever taken. Or, I think, that anyone has ever taken since 1967 at a Grateful Dead concert. I promptly sunk into the sand. The colors, the chromatic aberrations, the light, the triangles, the most beautiful sunset, the love, the company of people I have come to love and trust so quickly… then it became impossible to move my limbs, I stepped dimension by dimension away further and further away until I was completely disconnected from my body, my mind. We ran, holding hands, dancing through the festival. I don’t know how much of it happened. The spinning, the lagoon, then I fell into the sand and could not move. Everyone wanted to move on to the next place, but I couldn’t operate my limbs or form a sentence. I desperately did not want to be a burden, to hold them back from the things they wanted, so I worked so hard to find any words that could help. I chose “I’m happy” because I thought that would let them be free and I would not be holding them back anymore. “I’m happy” “I’m happy” “I’m happy” that was all I said, and I smiled like “:)”. And they left me in the sand, and I was happy. And I delved into it, into the into of it. I travelled through space and time, mostly time. I was the beginning of the universe. I was a ball of light, I was a rectangular infinite form and then shapeless infinite formless. I was god. A monument, a mountain, a massive triangular physical formation grew out from underneath me. I found that I could choose any life I wanted, because I was telling this story of my life to somebody else. In my mind I am always telling a story, but to whom? I asked aloud “but who am I telling this?”. There was silence, and then there was cheering. I became christ-like, someone truly pure, I grasped the meaning of life, I was an essential creature who needed for nothing. Everyone was chanting and wooing and “who am I telling this”. I had the chance to live any life I chose. They span by me, the possibilities, like a Kodak carousel. I could choose any life I wanted. One of them had me as a kind of beautiful empress universally loved by all my people, I skipped past it at first looking for somewhere where everyone on earth was happy and had everything they needed, but then I did a double-take and I went back to that world where I was being worshipped. I thought, “this is acid, it’s temporary, why not feel the unconditional and complete adoration of an entire society for a while? Just to know what that kind of love feels like?” And I sat there in that world and I enjoyed it for a moment. Then reality pulled back a level. Everyone could see I’d wanted that. People and gods could see me wanting that. I was a laughingstock. I was nude, crawling around on the festival ground crying and naked and disgusting and everyone wanted me to leave. I heard the voice of one of my friends saying “I can’t believe she still thinks she has friends”. They were all laughing and looking over their shoulder at me. There was a spotlight. Everyone kept cheering when I decided I was going to leave the festival. It was horrifying, sad. The only solution to my problem seemed to be to literally cease to exist, and everyone was encouraging me to do it. I knew that I would be completely alone forever. They kind of pitied me for being such a sad mess that had made such a fool of herself in front of everyone and on social media. They all had their phones out taking videos and I’d made such a fool of myself and the only person I had to blame was me. It was elaborate. I tried to pop, to disappear. I said aloud “I can’t stop existing”. Everyone wanted me to leave, the whole festival. The entire vibe of the last night was ruined because I continued to exist. I’d received enlightenment, though, so I was happy enough except that I’d ruined Boom due to my relentless existence and my life was ruined. I knew “I need nothing forever” then I’d remember, “what about when I need food or water” and I’d remember again that I do need something. It’s other people, it’s community. I need to learn to want. Someone gave me water. They put me in a little van and took me across the festival. I was Kosmicare patient #386. I no longer had boots, AirPods or a phone. (They were stolen, I’ve watched them travel across Portugal). The regret faded away once it became clear that most of my shame was associated with things that were literally, physically, materially impossible. I went back out into the world. Death and rebirth. I’d been God. I’d received the message: I need to learn to need in public without shame.

Delivered into nothing, everything, reality from first principals, egodeath, death and rebirth, reformed, deformed, formless and formed. Reached across the dimension diagonal to ours and held hands with myself. The walls split open and I saw the weird dog gods who watch us performing for them like a show, they were happy that I saw them and they were like “hehehe” because they knew I’d stop seeing them soon when the blinds closed back over.

The day after the festival I was awoken by a group of people banging on my hammock. “BOOM IS OVER. YOU HAVE FIFTEEN MINUTES.” Ruxi and Christian and me took a bus to Castelo Branco where I got a lovely hotel room in the Boutique Hotel Esplanada for a couple of nights. It can be hard to make it around without a telephone.

A thousand black birds flew out loud and in formation above my hotel balcony. My first instinct was to capture it, but when my phone did not exist I was forced to enjoy life to the fullest. A man on a motorbike sped down the centre of the road like death does not exist. The sunset was teal and silver and orange. Anyway, all that aside… I love my friends… and I’m looking forward to being comfortable calling them my friends. There’s nothing like it, nothing like knowing you’re one of your favourite people’s favourite people.

I woke up sugar-sick, limping with my fucked up foot that got torn to shreds walking on the sticks and stones and hot pebbles of Boom without boots, and I started to make my way to the bus station. I stopped off at the laundromat on my way. Turns out that that girl who was brushing up in the laundromat also went to Boom. Her name is Anne-Maria. We spent the rest of the day together. We did our laundry, we went for a beer, we went for another, we drank 2 bottles of wine, we sat in the courtyard of a closed bar that eventually opened just for us. A beautiful, beautiful couple opened the restaurant and served us grapes and melon and chicken and took a picture with us. And we were loved, and thoroughly, and “fica à vontade”. They sat with us after. We drove from the laundromat to Anne-Maria’s hostel. I got into the car and wondered if this would be the place that I died. I didn’t mind a lot. She put on some cumbia and drove happy through the wide roads and pretty colorful buildings like death does not exist. And I felt that death does not exist. She’s from Luxembourg. She went into her hostel searching for wine and water. We drank another bottle and a half of wine and we ate courgette with tomato, peanut butter and garlic.

Tomorrow we’re going back to Idanha-a-nova for Anne-Maria’s court date then all the way to Sintra on a road trip to see her favourite beach. In her hostel, I stepped on the pedal bin in the kitchen and it contained nothing but garlic skins. It came up 3 or 5 inches, nothing but garlic skins. I dumped my garlic skins in and moved on.