We’re packing, we’re leaving. We’ve done it before, many times now, and yes, it sort of does get easier. We leave some things here, fewer and fewer each time, boxed up against a possible return. The things we left last time we feared we’d never see again, but we were so happy to find them still here: my pretty wineglasses, my special pillow, a cozy poncho, Shel’s snuggly robe and slippers. Other stuff, like a big box of coat hangers, a small box of Band-Aids….what were we thinking when we put them in storage the last time?
We say our farewells with hugs and kisses, but mostly without tears, this time. We’ve said adieu forever several times now, and it begins to feel like crying wolf. We always think we won’t come back, and then we do. Our friends all hold us close for several long moments, then go on with their lives.
We’ll be going back to rain and fog and power outages, if recent reports from the island hold true. Here the garden is all overgrown with end-of-summer exuberance, not yet frost-bitten. We’ve had rain and sun and warm, sticky overcast, but we haven’t had any cold. I’ve barely touched the sweaters I brought with me. We’ve lit neither fire nor candle, and all that’s about to change.
There’s even still a bit of lavender in flower here, although it seems a bit ominous, at the beginning of November. Everyone here believes in climate change, there are no skeptics so far as I can tell.
And there’s still a rose in bloom in the garden that’s soon to be not-ours, once again. I have a beautiful garden at home and I know I won’t miss this one, once we leave, but I have loved it and taken care of it, and am saddened by the way it’s been neglected since the last time we left. We feel that way about the house too, tsking and tutting over little things that would have been taken care of, had we been here. None of it is really ours, but in a way, all of it is.
This used to be Beppo’s favorite little tree to climb, and it still holds an empty space where he used to be, right at the heart, just as I do.
Once again we don’t know what lies ahead, but that’s not new, we never do. A life with cancer will do that to you, and if you’re very lucky, as we have been so many times, you can have a life full of love and beauty in between the moments of sheer terror. We can’t see into the depths of the future, and perhaps that’s a good thing. But once again, we’re leaving one life and heading for another, another scan, another chat with the oncologist.
At least now, after having left so many times, we know that France will still be here, and that we’ll always have a home and a warm circle of friends here. Hoping to come back before we even leave, that’s us in a nutshell.