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The Valencian Void

How did we survive the days after summer camp when we were little? Did we indulge in milk and cookies and watch cartoons until we fell into a dreamless sleep? Only to be woken up in the middle of the night bathing in sweat thinking the best time in our lives has passed and nothing will ever live up to it? Because that’s how I’ve been feeling ever since my beautiful crew of Brussels friends left Valencia.

A week like a dream of one moment flowing into another, easy like Sunday morning. Spontaneity as our only guideline. Celebration a word to live by. Every day we celebrated life and togetherness. We wandered the shiny city streets at night and rode bikes to the beach for refreshing dips. We danced and shared delicious food like a happy family around the table laughing cheering secretly hoping these moments would never end.

I remember dreaming of this as a child: to go on holidays with my friends. That’s why summer camps were holy. Days and nights of adventures with my favourite people, far away from the daily routine. So out of the ordinary. For weeks I would try to hold on to memories, the way I felt when we were together. Living nowhere but the present.

I’ve been able to recreate those camp feels and I feel so lucky for it. Travels and festivals with friends worldwide, sweet sweet times. And I’m usually pretty good at landing softly after such weeks jam packed with fun and gatherings of like minded spirits. I make sure I’m not alone and find comfort in cuddles, chocolate and movies. For best results: all at the same time.

Maybe this time it’s different because my darling friends came to Valencia for a visit. Now they’re back in Brussels, they’re leaving a four friend shaped void in my Spanish hometown. Instant missing, you know. Big inhale and at the top of my breath I feel my eyes sting. All summer camps come to an end but the city still smells like sunscreen and I wrap our memories around me. Wear them in my hair, taste them in pistachio ice cream. Even then, it's easy to fall into the abyss. Places and moments feel empty after the overflow of laughter and Flemish heart-to-hearts. So bring it on: milk, cookies and cartoons as medicine.

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Steve Lang
Steve Lang
24 Αυγ 2022

Visceral Memories live on, as

Embodied missing

held in a spoon a cup a fold in cloth

Absorbed into the physical world

Waiting for our noticing

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