Monday 27 October 2014--Time to pack up. I am in the habit of giving the room a thorough sweep when checking out, looking even in
places I can't possibly have left anything. (Despite that, I leave stuff behind fairly regularly.) So it is that I find, behind a couch
and under the curtains, a pair of women's black tights, turned inside out, with hot pink panties still in place. Our host is stricken when
we tell him...I just wanted to let him know they weren't ours. At least, I'm pretty sure there was no wild birthday celebration last night.
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Thursday 27 October 2011--Went into the Tap & Spile with my laptop, hoping to get my customary seat by the power point. That corner was taken up with musicians' equipment, which made me unhappy. The place was crowded, so I sat in the other room, as far from the music as possible. If I'd been paying attention, I'd have remembered it was folk night. The duo was actually all right, and when they played the theme from Local Hero, I suddenly found myself fighting back tears. End-of-trip weepies? Partly that, I guess...more just a conditioned response to the music, I think, built up over many viewings of the movie. I always lose it when the phone rings at the end.
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Our flights home aren't until late in the afternoon, so we stow our luggage and go wandering around town. It was very cold overnight, and the pond is covered with a thin layer of ice. We have lunch at Café Loki, with a view through steamy windows at Hallgrimskirkja.
Eventually the time comes for the van to pick us up at the guesthouse. It takes us to the bus terminal, where we board the Flybus. That takes us to the airport, where Ron boards for Seattle, and I for Boston. Travels are done for another year, and thoughts turn ahead to the possibilities for the next trip.
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Later. In the weeks following my return, it became evident that Chester, the neighbor cat, had left the building for the last time. His owners eventually confirmed that he has gone the way of all flesh.
I used to hear Chester meowing at the back door when I was having my morning coffee at the kitchen table. I'd look out the window and there he'd be on the step, waiting to be let in. Sometimes when I opened the door, I'd see a black cat in the driveway. The black one is owned by the same people, and seemed to tag along with Chester as he made his rounds through the neighborhood. I'd always feel a little guilty about playing favorites and leaving him on his own, but the black one was shy, and resisted all efforts at friendliness.
My brother reported that he visited our dear old mum here in late October, and encountered Chester meowing in the driveway. He tried to let him in, but Chester didn't know him. That's the last anyone saw of him here. Months later, I was sitting at the kitchen table and heard meowing. When I looked out, the black cat was sitting on the step, but when I went to the door, he (or she) ran away. And that's the last I've seen of that one. It's easy for us to ascribe human motives to animals; we all have the same basic needs and emotions. It's probably not rational of me to think that Chester came to say goodbye, but I don't think I'm off-base in thinking that the black one came looking for his absent friend.
I think there's a point to all this, but I'm not quite sure what it is. I want to draw a metaphorical link between cats wandering the neighborhood and us moving through life, with side trips into traveling solo and sharing our journeys with friends. Throw in a dash of "enjoy it while you can because you never know." It's all too messy and trite. Kind of like my own journals. Sometimes the best thing to do is stop trying to make sense of it all, and just get on with it. That's a bit of a cliché, too, isn't it? So be it. See you next year.
All flashbacks are verbatim from my handwritten journals, with the exception of a very few minor edits for clarity.