Friday 1st October 2010: Marseillette FR.
I didn’t know when I woke up this morning that I would be ending it by myself. If I did, I would have done things differently, but knowing me, I would have probably done them all the same. Today is the first of the month and it has been two months now since we left the UK to follow the good weather. The nights are starting to draw in which means we will have to start our grand exit into Spain. It makes me feel a little sad, because I know that Spain means that we are at the last country.
I have learnt so much in these past 9 weeks, mostly about myself. I never thought that a trip like this could wring out your very emotions. Or maybe that is just my experience of it all. I wonder what paths I could have taken if only I had reacted differently, or if things had been said to me differently. I will never know. The paths I have taken cannot be retaken. It can only help me build upon my future paths.
After lazily reading my book on my friend’s sofa, I decided to have a shower. The warm water rushing over me is always a sigh of relief. Although the Snail has a shower, we have to use the water frugally. No standing underneath it whilst the water runs away. Switch it off when you’re washing your hair etc. But this, this is just bliss.
After getting ready, the Pilot suggests we take a walk around the canal. It is music to my heart and ears, and after a small lunch of bread from the bread van this morning, and our figs foraged a few days ago, we set off.
The jackets we both brought were not needed and we ended up carrying them all along the way. The silent, methodical walk, arm in arm seemed to correspond to the beating of my heart. Which each step that we took along the path, each beat put right a thousand woes. I knew that we were to be parted for a week after this day, and although I wanted to savour the moment, it was all I could think about.
We walked for about an hour, gazing at the wonders that were adorned along the canal side. We saw countless tiny lizards dart from left to right before disappearing into a hidey-hole. We saw a multitude on ants, all busy doing something, climbing from this strand of grass to that, even falling of to drop on the ground. They were brilliant to watch, until we saw some trying to explore the Pilots leg and so we moved on our way.
By now, we had approached a lock and a boat was already in the inside. It was waiting for the water level to drop sufficiently and then it would pass through. I made a mental note to see if I could cycle this path over the coming week when the wind would be in my hair and the sun on my back. We watched curiously as the boat left and another one came, this time, the process would be reversed, they would have to wait until the water level rose inside the lock. It was an age old process that I had experienced for the first time. We watched as the second barge resumed its journey and we resumed ours.
We continued to walk once more, and stopping only a few times to pick two figs and look at the water pump for the boats. Each footstep that brought us closer to home filled my heart with pain. I knew that once we were there, the inevitable steps would be taken that would lead to our separation. Even though it would only be for a week and it would both allow us to catch up on my writing and his flying. It took all of my efforts not to tell him to take me with him. I would have to cope with the pain of separation, in the knowledge that when reunited it would strengthen us. Strengthening is a hard process. You have to go through many levels before it can be achieved. And we have been through many levels so far. I wonder how many more are left to endure?
After a dinner of the fish he had caught at the Gorges, and some chips, we said our goodbyes and parted. The ache that ran through my body after just a minute of parting told me that this was going to be a long week. Memories filled my thoughts and I felt the photo inside my jacket that I had borrowed from the Snail. It was taken last New Years Eve in Poland. That night danced in my heart, and still does. I went back inside subdued, both wanting to be by myself and wanting to be in company. The mindless occupation of the TV in my mind helped to pass the hours ahead, but I knew that I would not go to sleep before I knew he was safe. 6 more hours of driving and he could rest, and then so would I.
I visited the balcony on various occasions to look at the bright stars in the black filled night. They sparkled, but never shot out. It’s the one thing I look at upon a starry night, to see a shooting star, but as yet, the one Im looking for hasn’t appeared. I know it will. I have hope in that one.
I prepared for sleep after knowing that The Pilot had arrived safely, and wandered off into my dreams once more that would not make sense when I would eventually awake.