I drafted this while on the plane. Now I’m in Cape Town, with wi-fi, the museum’s closed for the day, and I’m going straight to sleep (I can’t sleep while in mid-air.) Happy weekend Mountaineers. (Am I a Mountaineer?)
I didn’t mean to get involved in any of this once I left New York.
I was just going home. I had to. Not forever, but for a while. It wasn’t until I realised I left my laptop charger at the brownstone and was scrounging for something to do on the flight back that I found I had my dad’s journal in my big bag (hard to keep all my knock-off bags straight.) I cracked it open and suddenly some of it made sense.
And I was sitting there holding honest-to-god magic. A book that was until very recently hiding its content from me because I’d been hidden from the world.
In the journal he writes about how there are clues hidden inside it that will lead to a path paved with stones (artwork and other created objects) that come from two old “roads.” The road of wool and the road of silver.
He says there were two groups of people who knew what happened to the world, or knew something worth knowing at least. Centuries ago they set two trails of clues, designed to be found by anybody with a strong enough desire to find them.
He travelled both roads, following clues he thought would lead him to the truth, but as he describes in the journal:
“…at the end of both roads nothing but silence and ruin. Roads that, at one time in history, were walked by those who sought the truth. But when I walked them I found those who built them were no longer waiting at the end. And hadn’t been for quite some time. It wasn’t until years later that I found what I believe to be the truth and now I leave it safe at the end of this new road. For you.”
I think he did what he could to protect me. But also wanted to give me the chance, no matter how slim, to wake up – if I wanted it badly enough. I think I did want it, I always felt disconnected from the world, drifting… But if it hadn’t been for everything you all did, who knows? I like to think I would’ve got on track eventually. I did have the unwavering desire to find the damned books. I just happened to be looking for the wrong ones.
Anyway, I spent time with Mon, drank too much, ate too much, slept too much. Like when I used to come home from uni. But I was also catching up on everything on your forum and reading the journal. Processing it all. After a few weeks I thought I’d figured out where the trail started and I got itchy. I had to see. It took me a few days to work up the nerve, but I did and I was off.
I would like to say that I went to Amsterdam to find a magical trail of art. So let’s say that. But it was there that I kind of figured out the first clue which ended up leading me to Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia. I got back to the hotel and found a new clue that led me to the Alhambra (“Ferdinand and Isabella will meet your disapproval at the seat of the Sultan.”) To be honest, I’m not sure what triggered the next clue, but I think it could have been Charles V.’s Pillar. Crafted by metal instruments (the road of silver?) I most completely disapproved of the carvings of Daphne being chased down by uber-rapey Apollo. The next clue led me to Istanbul (“A line of lovers offer a sorrowful rest in Topkapi.”)
And you know the rest.
I wasn’t being cagey on Instagram. Part of me wanted to know that I could figure it out on my own. Which I did. That I wanted it enough. Which I do. And now I don’t need to prove it to myself. It doesn’t mean I’m not brutally lonely, perpetually tired, and sad to realise my stomach isn’t quite as cast iron as I once believed it to be.
I am going to follow this story to its conclusion. And though your help is much appreciated, if I have to do it on my own I will. I wonder what he left for me at the end of the road…?
Oh, and yes, I’m an Ebenguard. Seems fitting.
In my haste and turkish-fog I failed to realize that the Kimberley part of Kimberley Mine is the city of Kimberley, which is a nine hour drive from Cape Town. HA! So… not visiting the museum today. I’m in the midst of booking a little baby hopper flight either tomorrow or Monday (the agent seems vague about the whole thing or maybe I’m just still in need of a sleep.) Ah the life of a completely inexperienced world traveller. (in these moments I can’t help but think how David would react if he could see this. Anyone else do that? Imagine if your ex could peek into your life now? Or is that just me? Please don’t be just me.)