For eighteen months I’ve been carrying an anchor: lugging the damn thing around from A to B. Before I meet people I hide it and then when they’ve gone I carry it home. I put it in bed each night, wake up next to it each morning and hulk it downstairs for breakfast. It’s barnacled. It’s slimy. It’s difficult. It’s heavy. To put it simply it’s the loss of love. I guess we’ve all been there, trapped in the fog of melancholy carrying our loss back to the cathedral like Quasimodo.
This is my first holiday in eighteen months since the loss of love. “Excuse me may I borrow your strength for a minute”. said the elderly black American woman in front on the train to Paris. “It’s a respirator for my sister” she said. And so I lifted her bag onto the shelf above and sat in the seat behind. I changed trains in Paris and traveled on to southern France through fields of burnt bending Sunflowers. They seemed to bow as the train passed.
This morning I awoke in La Romieu. It’s a quiet village surrounded by sun-sponged fields. I examined my hands. The back. The front. There are no barnacle blisters. I pushed my feet to the bottom of the sheets until my toes poked out. Something is different. It’s gone. I think back and it’s as clear as day.
When the elderly black American woman said “excuse me can I borrow your strength” she was giving me hers. She took the anchor from me.