In Serbia I acquired a love for the Serbian form of clotted cream: kajmak.
I have beautiful memories of my friends taking me to try the best kajmak from the market and having an impromptu picnic with some freshly made bread from the bakery, dipped deeply in kajmak.
Velvety, salty and rich, I did not forget its look and taste and how much I enjoyed it - so when I saw buckets filled with creamy material in the market of Tbilisi my heart jumped with joy.
It was the first day of the trip and we were moving fast to keep to our schedule for the day as our eyes devoured the multicoloured layout of fruits, vegetables, meat and spices. We passed the stall with kajmak in a blink and right away I could feel the tension accumulating in my shoulders, my back getting tight and the yearning increasing. My mind concluded that I had to respect the schedule, that there was no time to stop and spend precious minutes figuring out how to buy some kajmak in this cryptic language.
We walked around and I considered turning back, but no. I'd be on my own in that maze, prone to getting lost and causing delays. The taste of kajmak started to become a distant memory as my heart sank and my mind spun with the "what ifs".
I do this to myself all the time. I soothe the loss of things I never acknowledged as mine, the rejection of things I never even asked for, the failure of things I never tried. I am so used to this that I was barely conscious of doing it at that point. I remember clearly a voice saying "we have to keep moving," and another telling me, "they won't understand you". In the end, all of these voices were from some form of fear.
Then I spotted two old ladies on the side of the walkway, buckets brimming with the milky product. Right across from them was a bakery flooding the crammed corridor with the smell of flat bread. We moved ahead and I did not say a word. But a few more steps later, I could not take it.
I wanted that goddam kajmak, right now!
I signaled, flapped my arms and mumbled, "kajmak." Women around me, known and unknown, interacted with me and followed the call.
My excitement and shame mixed with the light smell as one of the old ladies opened the vessel and at my insistence grabbed a fistful of rich cream. The weighing and subsequent identification of the right coins to pay simply made my yearning and impatience grow.
I darted to the bakery and with yelling and hand signals I secured the next piece of bread.
I am sure Antesa, Summer, Victoria, Amanda and Tami were there, around me, possibly speaking to me. I have no exact memory of what happened except that they supported my whim, they smiled and observed my frenzy with joy, love and care. I remember how much I wanted to have that cream and that bread in my mouth. How much my body trembled for it and how much I wanted the others to join me and understand my haste.
Somehow the old ladies understood my urgency and happily prepared a makeshift dining area by bringing chairs from unknown locations. I ate with great relish, acknowledging that this kajmak was fairly fresh, not aged for very long and that the bread was so insanely delicious that it confirmed the existence of God.
Everyone had some and confirmed the deliciousness of the ingredients of the snack. The old ladies brought us some biscuits and the people from the nearby stalls observed with glee how we devoured the food. A random person appeared with a bottle of chacha, ready to offer some to us. It was like the song "all eyes on us".
It was the peak of our market experience and we left shortly after. Later, Antesa would remark how good it felt when I followed my desire.
I know it does, yet I also know that it took an internal battle to allow my desire to lead me, as I am the one constantly squashing it; I do not require any extra help from the outside world to talk myself out of it. So, feeling it there, at that Tbilisi market, and ignoring the very logical precepts my mind shouted at me was a major step towards a life of fully expressing my desire and going for it.
I am grateful for this experience where my desire could fight its way out, where it could have a voice and an action. I am grateful for being received and enjoyed in my desire. I am grateful for food so delicious that makes you break your internal rules, grow, and start believing that this world is a beautiful, loving place that wants to see me succeed.