Saturday, 17 October 2009

Roles of the Road

It is easy to forget yourself on the road. Playing so many different roles in as many months, it becomes difficult to define who you were beforehand, and what of that person will remain on returning home. There has been the student, the farmer, the backpacker; and within the latter, so many more: the hiker, the playful market haggler, the guided-tour-ist, the assertive "don't rip me off mister" one, the plain old beach-bum, and many more inbetween.

And so it should come as no surprise that one remained in waiting; that of the victim. To be played out unexpectedly, with no prior rehearsal or script, in a picturesque seaside town in Colombia.

There was nothing of significance in the night (but of course, it was night-time); another new place, a stroll to explore, the usual precautions. Yet two men chose to interrupt the standard scene, pulling power from their pockets with a knife and a silver gun. And suddenly the cast changed; the two Colombians off out on the town became bandits, and like the unassuming understudy, the two gringas were transplanted to the stage. To stop in a second, to be pat down without a word, to be left standing while the two foes ran towards the wings.

And they played with perfection. But it seemed that despite entering perhaps their sixth season as The Thieves, the actors lost them their applause. Jittery hands betrayed the anxiety that clutched the weapons, which could not be dispelled by calming words from The Victim. Light feet fell out of step with the quick tune, and although the performance started with precision, it ended with a prickly exchange between the pair.

The Victims returned home with lighter loads; empty pockets waiting now for new roles, whatever & wherever they choose that to be. Whilst others sit with their spoils, weighed heavily down with tools of aggression, and wish for the life they could not steal.

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