this was always going to take place in my head. I knew that. I was a vagabond; an eternal wanderer and although my feet were mostly planted on solid ground, I was taken to abstract flight. My experience at the House of Clarissa had taught me about the many other realms one could journey to and as I walked down into Blackheath Village the sunny morning of my eviction, I realised that my role in life was as journey woman; as vagabondeuse. And it would take place in both worlds, not just this.
I stopped off briefly in a stationers to buy some paper clips, I remember it so clearly. The radio was playing in the shop and I overheard an announcement – there was in incident taking place in Manhattan; two planes had crashed into the World Trade Centre and pandemonium had broken out. People were dying. As the story of 9/11 unfolded, I knew that everything had been turned upside down. Nothing would ever be the same again. I think that I must have been feeling the pain and torment of the world that day but it was like a dream, it wasn’t even real.
It was then that I knew I had to get away. The real world was just too much for me. Maybe I was just too sensitive, too affected by those things in the news but that night, I planned my escape.
By then, I was living at the end of a steep valley, a single mother with six sons. My brother was a wealthy businessman and he sent me packages every month that helped me pay my rent. I had shaven my hair off, thought alternately about setting up a pottery and keeping goats for a cheese business and had taken to letting my boys run as wild children in the meadows behind the house, mucky feet and faces. I knew that people were after me but I couldn’t figure out who. One winter, at the darkest time of year, at the darkest hour of the night, during a break in a howling, snowy gale, I packed up a removal van with everything I owned, bundled the sleeping boys into the cab and made my exit. I didn’t tell anyone where I was going, I did not tell anyone that I was going. I disappeared into thin air, leaving no trace. Sometimes you just have to make a clean break of it.
I know that people were gossiping about me after I had left but that didn’t matter. When you are a journey woman, it makes no difference, the gossip; you are your own person, you are sure of yourself, even if that self has no chance of fitting in anywhere. You know …
Where was I going? Back home. Back to the place I was wanted, back into the lap of the Great Magician in the Sky. Back to the place where nothing is as it seems and people with great and unusual talent chose to live, work and travel together in anonymity and celebrated fame. I was joining the circus.