Monday, 19 May 2008

Comings and Goings

Today our little flat has been a whirlwind of activity since 6am when I got up to feed the animals. Shelagh, my sister in law was up (as she usually is) and packing as she is starting her long journey back to Vermont today.

By 8am we’d all breakfasted, the washing machine was doing its last very noisy spin cycle and Shelagh was checking her emails – anything to delay that awful half hour before she had to leave to get the train. Then Steve, the scaffolding fellow, arrived to give us a quote for scaffolding as the house needs repainting and bits are falling off the top flat and the TV aerials need moving and the flat upstairs needs new windows. Phew.

Steve dealt with the inside mayhem very well – Mollie barking frantically at this change in routine (and where’s my walk Mum?) – Shelagh dashing for a last minute pee, me trying to put the washing out.

At 8.30 her lift arrived to take her to the station and we looked at each other. I realised with a terrible drop in my stomach that it would be another 2 years before I see her. Two years? And I thought of the last 3 weeks – how come they went so quickly?

For the last six weeks I’ve been very short of sleep and this has made me exhausted, so unlike my normal hyper self. I haven't been able to take her places because I've been zonked. Last night I said, ‘we haven’t done half the things we meant to.’

‘No,’ she said with a smile. ‘But we’ve done other things.’

This morning we hugged on the pavement and I tried to stifle the gaping sense of loss. Hoping the journey back will go without a hitch. Realising that we’re all getting older and that travelling and – well, just living – takes more out of us.

As she hugged me she said, ‘Butterfly! That’s the clue.’

I quizzed her but all she said was, ‘like The Purloined Letter.’

‘What?’ I said. ‘Who?’

‘By Edgar Allen Poe.’

I groaned. ‘I haven’t read that.’

‘You’ll just have to look,’ she said. ‘See ya!’

We waved her off and rushed inside like children to scour the living room. Finally, on the mantelpiece, I saw a beautiful paper butterfly with a note attached.

Below the butterfly find a contribution to the Frivolity Fund. Love, Shelagh and thank you for another super holiday. Xxx to you both.

What more can I say? Thank you Shelagh.


Cornish Dreamer said...

I really hope Shelagh has a good journey. I know you'll both really miss her. RT x

Flowerpot said...

Thanks RT - I hope you're feeling a bit better now. Take care.

Lane Mathias said...

That's lovely. The book will always be special to you now too.

Hope the quote isn't too bad.

Flowerpot said...

Lane - it's a lovely butterfly, and the verbal quote wasn't too bad. Just waiting for the written one!

Akelamalu said...

I was almost crying as you were saying goodbye! :(

You never know you might win the lottery then you won't have to wait two years to see each other again. I have my fingers crossed for you. x

Anonymous said...

How lovely to know you have spent time together, not really done the things you wanted yet feel it doesn't matter because you've done other things that have meant just as much.

Crystal xx

Anonymous said...

Oooh, meant to add, I was watching Fantasy Homes by the Sea last night and Fowey was featured. I couldn't help but think of you.

CJ xx

Julia Phillips Smith said...

I'm a terrible one for goodbyes. I'm so thankful for the internet nowadays - it really makes me feel close to everyone I miss. (Especially on Facebook - I love Facebook.)

Grump said...

What a lovely woman. I hope she traveled safely back to Vermont. You won't believe this but I have/had a sister in law who would come over to visit us in Cornwall from Vermont. I am no longer married to her sister but one of the sisters [there are 3] still lives in Cornwall, Helston. She used to live in Treen hence my connection to that village.
Cheers Mark x

Flowerpot said...

Ak - well it would be good, but I'm not holding my breath!

Crystal - oh I would have liked to see that. A lot of houses in Fowey are being done up - at a vast cost.

Flowerpot said...

Julia - aren't they terrible? I havent got into facebook - I'd never get any work done at all!

Grump - what an incredible coincidence! She's actually flying in 2 hours (as I type this) to go back to Vermont. Sadly we never got to Treen because of a) weather or b) her other commitments. But I intend to go when I can and will report back!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

What a wonderful sister-in-law and friend Shelagh is. What a shame you can't see more of each other. This post brought tears to my eyes. I know that feeling all too well.

david mcmahon said...

For every parting there will always be another greeting. I hear every resonance of this post.

Flowerpot said...

wakeup - partings are always difficult arent they? Two years does seem a long time.

David - That's very true and very heartening - thank you for that.

Sandi McBride said...'s a bond of the heart...not always of blood...glad your visit went well
David sent me by!

Maggie May said...

I hate goodbyes, you're almost setting me off!

Cath said...

What a lovely post. Very poignant - made my eyes water!

Over from David's and congrats on the POTD.