Ep UN: the Art of being unnoticeably stressed

I am starting this challenge off with a little story. I have been sketching little pictures for my travel diary and subconsciously created a character over time. Instead of going “dear diary,…” every time I incorporating what I had experienced into a little story. In many of those stories I have “her” as my protagonist. Now these stories aren’t packed with action but more feelings towards certain places, people that were met or experiences. Since I am not a writer really, these stories are merely whatever my mind came up with in the moment. 

August 11th on a Saturday.

Super scared she was. The night before and the morning of. Anxiety is what they call it. A sort of fear for no bloody reason. A fear made up in ones head. She sat on the little hill next to the Château Frontenac, straight ahead of her the tourist information centre while on the righthand side in front of a big fountain, street artists were keeping tourists occupied with little shows.

15:21. At 5pm the bus would come pick her up again. Latest 5:30pm, the driver had told her. He would bring her back ‘home’ with a heart full of joy and a fresh basket of strawberries. In the morning everything had looked quite different.

In the morning, the driver had given her clear instructions on where to be when this afternoon. She worried because that is what all worriers do. She was worried she wouldn’t find the place, that she would get lost and he would leave without her. It made her downright nervous. Her mind was buzzing as she rushed through the little alleys on the way to the Château Frontenac. She appeared to be in a rush, even though she wasn’t actually. Nervously she bit her nails. A bad habit of hers. She passed by a big group of Chinese Tourists on her way, thinking to herself ‘agh Tourists’, totally forgetting that she herself was a tourist today. Quickly up and down Rue du Petit Champlain, up the stairs on to the promenade and there it was – Château Frontenac. She snapped a few pictures and kept walking. Still at a fast pace. ‘Don’t look stressed, relax, pretend like you know what you’re doing’. She was starting to sweat in the late summers heat and her stress walking along the promenade didn’t help. Up the stairs, past more tourists, along the deck, past the city walls and gate, she was still in a rush, past more tourist, back into the old town part, past a pharmacy – ‘oh wait I need something against my cold. Do I really though? Yes, yes you do!’ – turns around, into the pharmacy out of the pharmacy down the alley with little cafes and shops – ‘wait was that a book store?’.

Bookstores. The only place where time didn’t matter. She could count up a whole lot of times when she had just forgotten time and ended up being late to an appointment. Bookstores calmed her down. The vibe in them made her feel very relaxed. In a way bookstores are funny. It’s kinda like a thousand people are expressing their thoughts, wishes, dreams or stories at the same time and you have the power to chose which one of them you’d like to listen to. Maybe that’s the secret to the vibe in a bookstore. For her though today wasn’t any different than usually when she enters a bookstore. She spent a good hour browsing through all the unknown french books before she stepped back onto the road among all the other tourists. She always feels like stepping out of a magical world back into the real one.

Only now she wasn’t in a rush anymore. It was as if all her fear and worry had been left behind in the bookstore world. Now could she properly take in all the beauty of the outside she had missed before. The colourful shutters on the old European style buildings in the little alleys, all the bee’s buzzing around pink and yellow flowers, the people chattering happily in the bars and cafes along the road as she strolled down the road, taking it all in and enjoying it. The sun shining down on her. It was just beautiful. It felt like the weight had fallen of her shoulders. It was beautiful. Today was beautiful. Life was okay again, today was starting to become enjoyable.

With her journal and the strawberries she had picked up along the way from the farmers market, she was now sitting in the park under a tree in the grass. The wind blew lightly, making the leaves dance a little to his music. On the streets people were now rushing up and down the streets, laughing with each other or admiring the street artists performances. She on the other hand was calmly sitting in the park now. She felt calm while enjoying the sound of all the rustling leaves, the sunshine and her strawberries. She liked it here. Everything was well.

5:30pm. With a heart full of joy and in her bag a fresh basket of strawberries, she hopped on the little bus – ‘How was your day, ma’m?’ he asked, ‘Really nice’ she replied. And she meant it.

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