We arrive at Þingvellir, Iceland’s oldest and most popular national park, in the middle of a day that can’t seem to make up its mind. We park at the edge of vast boulder fields and watch sheets of snow and hail sweep towards us, pelting our hooded heads for five minutes before continuing their journey across the island and out to sea. Less than an hour later, we’re strolling down boardwalks under a blue sky and sunshine that would be warm enough to warrant taking our raincoats off if it weren’t for the continuous wind whipping around the ridges and spraying us with waterfall.
I’m tired on this day, and it’s no longer because of jet lag; we’re on the last leg of our trip, after spending three days in the capital city of Reykjavík, Elena attending a conference while I wandered around admiring the bright colors, street names, and utter lack of trash, all the while trying and failing to distract myself from all-consuming thoughts about everything going on back home - my recent breakup, moving across the country. Him. The secrets I'm keeping. I don’t know if you know this, but it is exhausting keeping secrets. This is why most people usually do so only out of desperation. Quiet, earsplitting, I’m-in-too-deep desperation.
We watch another storm rise over a cliff, silently rolling down into and across the valley until it slaps us in the face, and we take it with as much poise as we can muster, because there’s nowhere to hide. The sky has gone from blue to muddled gray, and we’re in the thick of it. We jogwalk down the road towards the car, our faces buried in our collars, shrieking occasionally as the wind threatens to carry us away. Somewhere along this walk, I lose the belt for my raincoat, the one I had bought on the way to the airport only a handful of days before. I spend the rest of the trip being exceptionally sad about this loss. I imagine the belt winding its way across the plains, gusting through the air like a drunken, flat snake. I wonder if it’s lonely, or angry that I didn’t take better care of it. I hope it has found its way to somewhere that makes it happy.
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