I’m allocated half of a rectangular, beige tent, mounted on some kind of wooden platform. Inside, bedding, and under the pillow, a resealable plastic bag containing condoms and two pairs of rubber gloves – one small, one large. If only there was some hope I’d need them.
The coach here from Portland was like a school trip – communal singing, hilarity, lust and loneliness.
The taste of latex, and the smell of it – such a turn-off, and so hard to expunge. I recall hours after use, despite scrubbing, the smell of condom still on my fingers. Yuk.
The place is huge – wide valley of desert scrub, high up on the Oregon plateau. I’m maybe a mile from the central complex, and yellow school buses circulate to transport me and other red-clad beauties down.
A German ma, older than me (most are). Walking through the camp site, I’m breathing with her, audibly, and holding my hand, not touching, over chakras in her back. Breathing. She’s in a freaked out state, and, poor imitator, I imagine I can help.
“Are you doing that for me? Weird.”
Nonetheless, we continue onto the bus in some kind of companionship.
Bhagwan will be here, silent, in the vast, hangar-like hall. My first time, after such build-up – reading, listening, visiting UK sites, feeling such heightened hopes. I’m overwhelmed by the place, and by loneliness.
Nick’s here, though. I feel he’s keen not to end up with a liability, in a caring role, but he’s kind all the same.