Sunday, October 20, 2013

Holiday, Or

Once, I traveled to southern France, where my faith in simple luxuries seemed ideal. A man with a large dog sat at a café table, sipping an espresso, while reading. My nieces went round and round on a merry-go-round, being merry and free. A walk through a farmers market elicited the sharp taste of fresh strawberries and the smell of lavender. I thought that to find such far off places was an oblivion to where I was at the time.

The image of my parents holding hands against the distant hills and ocean haunts me even as I’ve lost the photograph to time.

Yesterday, I took a walk around my neighboring streets and hills and blue skies and green turning yellow and orange. I was reminded of so much of my past that I had to make a few stops along the way, just to catch my breath. Being away for so long, it was strange how familiar everything was:  the same houses with the same cars and mailboxes, the smell in the air, the fact that I didn’t remember how many trucks there were on any given street.

I went home, drank a beer, and read part of a book I hadn’t read, and still haven’t read, but could tell you every word of it from memory.

Today, while out walking again, I saw the parents of my best friend from childhood moving a large piece of furniture. They each, in turn, said “hi”. I said “howdy” and felt like an idiot. I was wearing too much clothing for the weather, and felt hot and tired. I later felt I should have given them a hand. But then, at the same time, I thought that such a shared experience shouldn’t be trammeled upon. That some shared experiences shouldn’t be shared.

I wouldn’t want anyone to share my experience, my holiday, even though I can’t call it that now.