So. Some stuff happened.
I’m back in Skopje, having just returned from Tirana.
Let me explain.
Last Tuesday, fearing what was laid out in a somehow simultaneously vague whatsapp message that was circulating that was supposedly outlined by the Sebian government and new lockdown regulations in Macedonia, Alex decided, around 11 in the morning, that we should leave for Tirana immediately. I agreed to go.
And with my memories of my time there – of lounging about upstairs at Art Hostel with my girlfriends and spending long, balmy mornings with coffee and way-too-many-ciggarettes on their third floor deck – I was eager to take the opportunity to return.
So I packed my things in a hurry, and we fled in a cab to Struga to meet the slight bus that would usher us there. Struga is super close to the Albanian border, so it wasn’t long before we reached it; it wasn’t long before I continued on to Tirana while Alex was held at the border.
Now it seems fucking prophetic that I said, just the day before, that I was willing to walk from him at any time, because there I was, faced with the choice to either grab my things and return to Ohrid with him, or continue onto Tirana to surprise Dylleyne.
I chose the latter.
And now I’m back in Skopje, back in the Favella with my girlfriends, regaling them with stories about what an asshole Alex turned out to be; how he used every opportunity to try and monopolize my body and time, and how his constant drunkenness contributed to this.
But what’s very crazy is that soon, likely sometime this week, I’ll be returning to Belgrade with Tassi.
Belgrade. The first city that I’ve so holistically maligned since Paris destroyed me when I was still only 20.
Because, you see, there seems to be a slim chance that I can really, actually, get the vaccine there. And this year has been too hard, to uncertain, too terrifying to pass up that opportunity.
Let me explain.
It was back in December or January when Lovage first told me that it looked like it might be possible to get the vaccine in Serbia. She sent me a link where you could fill out a form to express your “interest” in receiving the vaccine. I’ve basically heard nothing. I emailed them a couple of times to see if I could get more information, and didn’t hear anything specific back.
But then I met Tassi. She’s been living in Belgrade since she first got stuck there over a year ago, though she only yet has a tourist visa. She’s already had her first dose, and when she returns to Belgrade, though we’re still unsure exactly what day that will be, she’ll get her second.
And she did this via a method that had never even occurred to me: she just showed up at the vaccination center and asked for it.
Right now the three of us are all in Skopje, meaning Tassi, Nalini, and I. And as soon as Tassi gets a phone call from the Serbian embassy here to alert her that her residency visa is complete, she’ll swiftly retrieve it, we’ll get our noses swabbed, and high-tail it for Belgrade.
And I don’t know, y’all. I’m scared. I’m scared because I fucking hated most of my time in Belgrade, and I don’t even know if showing back up will mean I’ll even get this shot.
And it’ll cost me nearly $100 just to get back there that I don’t fucking have.
If there’s a chance, even a slim one, that I can put even a small part of the fear and uncertainty of the last year behind me, if I can at least assure that I don’t have to fear the virus anymore, isn’t it worth it to try?
It’s just crazy because when I left I swore I never wanted to go back, but now I realize how I might be able accomplish something I’ve literally been dreaming of for over a year in exactly the wrong place.
So. I guess some stuff has happened.
It could be as soon as Wednesday, though I’m not yet sure. But it looks like I’ll soon be crossing back across the Serbian border, headed for Belgrade.
But goddamnit. For all that I already dislike it there, Alex fucking loves it. And because he can’t get into Albania, he could also show up in Belgrade at literally any time.
But remember that bitch I dragged out of that hostel in Stari Grad because I assumed she, too, was part of out kibbutz? At the very least I’ll know that I wont see her, because I know for a fact that her Serbian visa has now expired.
I’ve weighed the pros and cons, and I’ve already decided I can’t not go. But. A lot of those decisions are hinging on the factuality that I can get the vaccine.
What if I can’t?