It’s two o’clock in the morning.
I’m not entirely sure, but in truth I think I’m a little bit scared. Finally. I guess it was bound to happen at some point, but with still twelve days to go until The Big Adventure, I’m hoping that this is just a case of reality and nerves catching up with me. It had to happen at some point. (Please note the attempt at a grownup attitude, I’m guessing that had to happen at some point also.)
Yesterday I did the final bits of shopping for the bicycling trip and now the kitchen table and floor are covered in practical maintenance and repair kits, first aid packs, and an awful lot of detailed maps from the north to the south of France. Quite how everything is going to fit into two panniers and a basket, well tomorrow’s packing will tell and that’s not even including a couple of extra clothes and half of the Clinique counter (did I mention that I’d been shopping?).
The Colonel is away for a couple of days so there’s a sense of quiet and loneliness in the house. ‘My Rock’ (what a ghastly cliche!) is on business up north so my stability and routine maker isn’t here. The time to behave like a grownup therefore is here. What I should be doing is rolling over and going back to sleep, but the child in me wants my thoughts bashed out here to you, you unfortunate blighters! Sorry about that.
I spoke yesterday on the telephone to my sister. My sister who has been so unutterably encouraging for me to do this trip. I had thought that she’d call me barking mad and try to persuade me otherwise. Foolishly, I had underestimated her knowledge of me. She understands my need to challenge myself and be finally free of my fears. And for that and for so many other reasons I love her. She has tolerated my past, my nonsense and my mistakes. Where we differ is that she holds her cards close to her chest whereas mine have not just been worn on the proverbial sleeve, but splayed out with garish colours across the street, with trumpets sounding and much hysterical wailing and despite it not being how she might deal with life’s ups and downs, she tolerates that about me too.
The love of a sibling when both your parents have gone is even stronger. She has looked after her irritating baby sister and together we have laughed, cried, occasionally squabbled but also coped together with the worst of emotions, grief. Grief borne from the deaths of our parents. And we have bonded again and again over shared memories that nobody else now in the world can possibly know of. Memories of parents, of childhood, of each other from times long since passed.
I shall telephone her again tomorrow and somehow and no doubt rather awkwardly tell her how much I appreciate her and then we’ll change the subject quickly and talk about our children and laugh about the adventures and journeys that their lives are taking them on. Night night …