mardi 13 mai 2008

The journey home, part 4

We stood by an entrance to the autoroute between Nice and Cannes one morning. An English truck pulled over. He was going as far as Paris, but he could only take one of us. It was too good a ride to turn down, and Michael insisted I go. We promised to meet again at Charles de Gaulle airport, as soon as we could get there. Messages would be left at the information desk and we’d wait there every day between six and ten p.m. until we were reunited.

I got there two days later. He arrived, miraculously, an hour after me.

During the two days apart, we’d both had time to think. I was desperate to get back to the UK, to see my family and friends and to sleep in comfort. In the past month I’d slept in a proper bed only twice, and hadn’t felt hot water on my body since Venice. Understandably, Michael felt the same way. A parting of our ways was inevitable.

I pulled together enough money to get a Eurolines bus ticket to London. Michael called his father, who arranged at ticket to JFK for the following day and a room at a hotel near the airport for the night.

The night at the hotel was good and bad. Lovely and terrible. As we lay there in the dark, we both knew what was happening, we both understood that seeing each other again anytime soon wasn’t likely. Airline tickets were out of our reach financially and neither of our families could afford to continually subsidise us, even if they wanted to.

The next morning, the clothes we’d sent to the hotel laundry had come back.

We left the hotel with the past washed out of our clothes if not our hearts.

We headed off, individually, separately, alone.

I never told my parents that I was coming back. The look of shock and delight on my Mother’s face when she answered the door was incredible. She literally fell to the floor with surprise and my father came out to see what was causing all of the commotion.

It was me. I was home.

But it wasn’t me. I wasn’t home.

15 commentaires:

Lane a dit…

I hope this isn't the end to the story??

I need to know how you readjusted and what happened to Michael.

Wonderfully written:-)

Lola a dit…

That decision about the actual event of coming home, it's an unexpectedly big one, isn't it? It is no surprise to me that you didn't forewarn your parents. Nothing is the same, so you wouldn't want them making any preparations based on wrong assumptions about who they thought was coming home. I've really got to revisit that manuscript of mine over the summer...

catherine a dit…

"messages would be left at the information desk"

Makes one wonder how we ever managed in the days before mobiles, blackberries and other technological addictions.

Heartwrenching stuff, this story.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Lane, Thanks for the lovely words...I think it may be the end for now...I might go back to normal blogging for a bit and pick the story up again later. We'll see....

Lola, you're right - every time I went travelling there would come a moment when I just knew I wanted to be back in the UK. Usually I rode it out and let it pass. Sometimes I reacted.

I don't get that moment any more...

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Catherine, if only we'd had mobile phones, text messaging, emails, facebook, blogs, blackberries!

I'm pretty sure that if we had had all those things (as well as transatlantic airfares at today's prices) I'd now be married to a nice American boy called Michael.....

tornwordo a dit…

I don't think this is the end of the story. Too many questions left unanswered.

How does it take two days to go from Cannes to Paris? It's not THAT far is it?

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Tornwordo....no, it's not that far. It's about a nine hour drive.

But, trust me, it takes that long when you are hitch-hiking!

I got as far as Auxerre on the first day, then to Paris and CDG on day two.

aims a dit…

Ah yes. Your very first comment over on mine was about this and I have thought about it often - wondering -

Coming home a different person than the one who walked out the door eons ago.

And how does one's family cope if they notice?

And how does one cope in oneself?

Swearing Mother a dit…

As a Mum with a son who frequently goes off, comes back and goes off again, I can tell you it's just so fantastic when he comes home.

But I know now that he has a different home now, and it's wherever he hangs his hat, metaphorically speaking.

That takes a bit of getting used to, I can tell you. Although he does revert to being my little boy from time to time, thank goodness.

conortje a dit…

What? No! This can't be the end. My little romantic heart can't take it.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Aims, I think the next installment has to talk about coping with being back, but not being back - if you know what I mean.....

SM - I forgot that you have a son with wanderlust...I can only imagine how hard / strange / difficult it must be for a mother to deal with.

And to make matters worse for my Mom, I left home and went to live in a warzone....

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Conortje....it is really the end of the love story. It really did end like that. Suddenly it was over.

But don't worry, I can no doubt dredge up more of my life-story to entertain you and your romantic little heart (bless).

Valleys Mam a dit…

awwwwww tears here Its such a sad end to a lovely interlude, even if conditions were hard.
Did you ever hear again from him?
You have had a lot of sad partings I hope you will one day find your soulmate and be happy

travelling, but not in love a dit…

VM - a lot of sad partings - it certainly seems that way from what I have been writing, but surely that's how it is for most people when they are young and starting out on the road of love?

I'm not a sad lonely soul with a broken heart...honest!

Thanks for your lovely thoughts though. x

Breezy a dit…

And so it ends? It seemed to me not quite a tragedy but almost like one of those slightly out of focus scenes in black and white films. Yes definately a Brief Encounter type interlude