The title of this post sounds delightfully existential. However, I do mean it quite literally. Today I drove from our new home in the Slocan to Hope. This is where I have petered out and checked into a motel for the night. Tomorrow, I shall continue the return journey to the loft in Cedar.
It’s been an odd day or two. Starting with yesterday evening, we took the dogs for a short romp by the lake – anything to do with water always brings a smile to Shanara’s face. I miss her and I can tell that Abby misses her too. Abby is a typical labrador in at least one way – she loves being part of a family. Now, for a short while, she will have to put up with just me. Poor baby.
We went to bed early after dinner – both restless and waking frequently during the night. Shortly after 6 a.m. I gave up and crawled out of bed. I was determined to treat this brief hiatus from each other with a “chin-up” approach – matter-of-factly if you will. I finished the packing I’d started the night before and helped Simon haul everything out to the car. Then, shortly after 8, there I was, ready to go. We’d already been kissing and hugging most of the morning but suddenly, with Abby loaded in the back seat and Shanara demanding to know what the heck was going on, it hit me – I was leaving.
I don’t cry easily. I haven’t actually wept in many years. I used to be the weepy sort but I think I’ve largely forgotten how. Then, as I was hugging Simon one last time, I felt the tears well up. They didn’t spill over, but they were there.
And then I was starting the car and pulling out of the driveway, waving to my love one last time.
I drove down to Silverton for gas and then on – through New Denver and on to Nakusp. The sky was leaden, the air presaging the cold of winter. I felt an ache in my chest I could hardly put words to – a missing, a longing, a parting, a love.
Driving alone – leaving – being alone again – this was the strangeness of it all. Simon and I have been together, doing everything together – and suddenly – not there. Mostly I had a sense of the wrongness of it – but also knowing it was a necessity and we were both doing this for us.
I had estimated the drive time from our house to the ferry landing north of Nakusp at about an hour.
Boy, was I wrong!
When I got to Nakusp and saw the sign that told me I had 51 kilometres to go, I rethought my driving plan. I’d wanted to catch the 9.30 ferry – the 10.30 would be all right, but still….
Speed limit – 100. Kilometres – 51. Time 9.05.
I’ll spare you the details, but I’d like to note that I arrived at the ferry terminal at 9.29 and rolled on. To my amazement, one car boarded behind me, two seconds before we set sail.
And then, the rest of the drive was a bit like an odd time-travel experience. Every piece of road reminded me of driving with Simon in the other direction – not even that long ago. I stopped in Revelstoke, walked downtown, remembered doing this with Simon. Then on toward Vernon where I stopped at the market for what would be dinner tonight (and for the market’s famous and absolutely sensational Baroness chocolate bars). Again – remembering. Simon and I had been here, driven these roads, had lunch in this cafe.
Then, down through Kelowna and that’s where the experience became new – driving the 120 kilometre per hour connecter. I thought I’d spend the night in Merritt but it was only 3.30 when I arrived and I was on a roll – may as well keep going. Five minutes later, I almost lived (or not) to regret it. The car beside me in the passing lane decided to swerve into my lane – not just a touch over – but truly into my lane. Luckily, we were going uphill and I had a truck lane to my right – I jerked the wheel hard. Relief – he missed me – I turned back into my lane – and (this is true!!!) he swerved back into my lane! Again! Yes – I managed to avoid him again. But let me tell you – was I ever aware, alive and fully alert!
The guy’s passenger noticed and yelled at him – she was white with shock. At 120 K – that sideswipe would not have been pretty.
Thrilled with being alive and well, Abby and I rolled on into Hope and arrived shortly before 5. It felt good to get out and stretch our legs. Abby was also delighted to get some dinner. She’s now in her favourite prone position on her blanket cuddling with her stuffy.
And I feel odd. Alone in a strange motel room – very odd. Thinking about my darling all day – and now – and surely all night too.
I love – and I am loved. I cherish – and I am cherished. I am the luckiest woman on earth. Simon is doing all this work – all this stuff he has never done on this huge learning curve and way out of his comfort zone because he loves this family.