Fuerteventura is a faux-ami. I thought the island would be easy because of its flatness and shallow slopes, but Manuel turned out to be right. It’s been quite hard, and there’s an intense pain in my feet I have never experienced before. Fuerteventura has taken us to Gran Canaria, walking in the same direction as the trade winds. We’ve reached the most uneven point of our trip. I am crying, laughing, screaming and howling, every single day, as if my mind is reflecting the unevenness experienced by our legs.
Manuel and I have started talking from time to time. I realise I can only grasp what he’s pondering about by paying close attention to the direction of his eyes. When he looks at the landscape, he’s thinking about the road and our project, when he looks at the ground I know he’s thinking about me, about the baby, about the idea of him being a father. As for me, I walk slightly behind, as if those few metres between us will enable him to protect me better. I know he’s worried about my physical condition and the thoughts flipping through my mind. I can only worry about the latter.
Our brains are receiving an infinity of images.
Tenerife Island, La Esperanza. I notice Amalia has started to smile while walking. Her feet are sore but she doesn’t complain. She suffers in silence. I feel relieved: her physical and mental strength are stronger than I expected. We now walk at the same speed, and her episodes of distress fade away a little faster every day.
I realize we now have two goals: finishing this journey and finding an answer. Or is it making a decision?
My feet perform the same action every day. The same applies to my arms and the balance of my body. Inside though, things are constantly fluctuating. There’s times I see myself prepared to be a father. It tends to happen when I’m mesmerized by the surroundings. At other times my thoughts spin in a suffocating spiral. Confusion. Many hours go by without bumping into anyone, as if we’re the only ones walking out here. Only us, the rhythmic noise of our footsteps and the birds, floating on the rhythm of the whispering wind. The silence gives us a place to think. I sometimes wonder if we are thinking the same.
The peak of Mount Teide, the highest mountain in Spain. The path passes through the National Park but we decide to divert from the route, and sleep in the Refugio del Teide. We’ll climb the peak tomorrow. From down valley, I look up and see what’s to come. I can tell Amalia is nervous. A we watch the shadow of Mount Teide’s peak we notice the other islands sleeping in the sea. It’s breathtaking. The shape of our journey’s path is reflected onto the water, and I picture Amalia and me walking on the sea, following the lines drawn on the ocean’s surface.
We reach the top of Mount Teide. Manuel kisses me and tells me he’s proud. I can only look at the sea and take pictures. I realise I’ve come to a decision. If we can master a mountain, we can master anything. I wait to tell Manuel. When I look at him I sense he’s thinking the same thing.
As we descend, our adrenaline flows in every direction. There’s a superabundance of energy that is difficult to manage. We shout to the wind. I take Amalia in my arms and kiss her belly for the very first time. Silence finds us again and we look at each other. Amalia can’t stop taking pictures. When she’s not using the camera, we squeeze hands.
Photography. Amalia Márquez and Manuel Federico
Words. Leti Sala