I just don't share them anymore.'
At 15 years old, my English teacher presented the essay topic: A Perfect World (what we imagined it to be).
I gave the topic serious thought, and I still remember looking around the class, watching everyone deep into paragraphs.
I sat thinking, if my happiness does not depend on anyone or anything, that would be perfect for me.
Those thoughts made me conclude that my perfect world would be a place where I'd live in solitude, detached, surviving in a self-sustainable manner, living ecstatically.
My presentation left everyone questioning.
Don't you like people? They asked.
What gave anyone the idea that I don't? I replied.
My teacher, bemused, summoned me to the Guidance Councillor.
I was annoyed and felt like my personal feelings and thoughts were being thrown in my face.
Isn't it an imagination, I asked?
Everyone said I was strange, regardless.
I wanted to salute the class with my middle finger, and never return to school.
Solitude, and headspace have always been high on my priority list.
So much so, that as a child, I'd spend hours on end, at the top of a humongous almond tree in my backyard, my most peaceful place.
I loved climbing trees, and eating almonds.
I'd pick dozens, eat the flesh, bungle and tie them in my blouse, then climb down and reach for my hammer (I always had a hammer), when hungry, and I'd crack the nuts open, drink water, and return back to solitude.
I'd laze at the top of the tree like a lion, disguised in the branches.
Silently, I'd watch my mum and sisters looking for me; Checking the neighbours for my whereabouts, they'd call my name.
I'd tune them out and listen to the faint sounds of the leaves moving in the tree, I'd admire the formation of branches.
In my own time, I'd climb gingerly down the tree so no one would discover my hiding place.
Where have you been my mum would ask.
'By the river!' I'd say.
They knew I liked to chill by the river, a few metres from my house.
"I went to the river, and you were not there," said mother.
'The river is long, did you walk the entire river?' I'd asked.
"Well, I went to your usual spot, and you weren't there." said mother
'No, I was not there today, I found a new spot.' I replied.
You are nothing but trouble! My mum's usual frustrated response.
I'd fantasise about an Almond Tree House, but I didn't like that idea, because they would disturb me.
Years later, I would come to meet people that I wish I could un-know.
My mind would always wander to my imaginary perfect world. Overtime that imagination became a wish; a wish I thought was impossible.
(I still differentiate fantasies from wishes. Do you too?)
For the past six months, I've been living off-grid on a narrowboat on the canals of the UK. There's greenery everywhere.
There are sparse sections that give the illusion of being on another planet.
With my life companion, my husband.
Today, my husband, my personal skipper and I, chugged away from a boatyard; where we've been moored for 3 months to install a new boat engine .
Looking through the porthole from my bed, my heart beats; and I think:
What is a perfect world?
I smile, and with a sigh of relief, I take a breath knowing this is my perfect world, even if just for now.
Thanks for stopping by.