As we walked through fields ravaged and salted by the winter wind and rain, your hand in mine, my hand in yours, it was as if there had never been an argument. It was as if that unsettling feeling of hurt in my gut had never been.

The cold had smartened the pain, but only momentarily. Soon your arm was around my shoulder and we braved the weather together.
Ugly were those words, spun by the agile hands of insecurity.

I was feeling isolated and alone. I didn’t feel as if there was anything completely mine in your country, including you. The walls in the guest bedroom felt as if they were closing in on me. I had read and reread the few English books on the shelves heaving under french novels, dictionaries and ancient magazines. Out of that room and down the wooden steps and into the kitchen, I had prepared a meal or two for us all. Afraid I was stepping on our host’s toes, in his kingdom of copper pots and african utensils, I had rushed about my buisness, eager to be finished.

I’d left a roast in the oven and a cake to cool when you asked me if I’d like to go for a walk. Or did I ask you? Perhaps it was me who had asked and it’s just that my memory wishes to remember things otherwise.

Out there, it was just us and that clean slate of countryside jostled by the mistral. We to seemed to be cleansed by the fresh air. A picture unfolded before us: wiry trees and shrubs, grazing horses and penned in geese. The muddy footpaths led us past houses which we could not see inside for peeling shutters. We wondered who was inside and was that room the living room or the kitchen. You said it could be nice to live here.

I imagine us old and grey, wisened by the years, less regretful and only grateful.

I am full of regrets I tell you. Regretful for what I said. I think you understand. perhaps not. Perhaps your silence spoke a thousand words, perhaps I was just not listening hard enough.

You were talking as we walked. I listened, wanting to understand, showing you I too could be a good listener. I think you had a lot on your heart. I did too, but then when did I not ?

Turning back to our host’s less than humble abode, I almost wanted to pull you back, afraid I’d lose you again for the rest of the vacation.

Something in your eyes told me you were here to stay.

Could we get a dog when we move here ?
Yeah if it can live outside, you had laughed.


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