Sometimes when I'm hit with something that strong I simply freeze and my surroundings completely fade. I was sitting on a hard floor in Jayapura, halfway around the world from everything I'm used to and up until now have taken for granted, with storm clouds surrounding me, holding a brown pencil and a green pencil and a bowl of mashed potatoes, and crying, but my brain was reeling so intensely that I felt like I was in a black hole.
My stomach grumbled a long, low note of protest, shell-shocked from the complete unfamiliarity, but it was overruled immediately and almost on autopilot I kept dipping in my fork until my senses were drenched (as was my lap, from my tears) and my plate was empty, and if anyone had been looking... but nobody had been.
In my black hole I thought back to that afternoon, when I, finally, caved to pressure and bought a bar of Swiss dark chocolate with cashews. I unwrapped it right there in the street, the inner wrapping gold, like a Golden Ticket, and took a bite, and my mind became, suddenly, confused halves of one whole. My eyes were sending my mind images of a torn street with holes and open sewers and a crowd of brightly colored umbrellas protecting the lighter-skinned women from the sun (light skin is unbelievably prized here, to a ridiculous degree - it's nearly impossible to find a simple bar of soap that isn't called 'White Beauty' or doesn't have the byline '... with whitening papaya extracts!) and machines tearing chunks out of towering jungled cliffs and markets with falling down roofs and everyone dripping, dripping, dripping with sweat - and my mouth was sending images of heaven. I didn't cry - it, for some reason, was nowhere near as intense as cheesy mashed potatoes - but it was still a surreal experience.