I feel like I’ve told this story a lot lately, and I need to make one solid version of it, lest false memories implant and grow like so many weeds.*
In June of 2012 I embarked on a month-long, bad, mostly-camping trip, with a lover I had been seeing for exactly 134 days. That is not a lot of days. And it was not a fairy tale trip.
People that blog about their love lives annoy me. I have refused second dates with people after reading their blogs, and encountering posts about love-gone-south. (See how clever I am? How I engaged in self-deprecation in order to justify this narrative?)
We began in Germany, and stayed with a former colleague. Saw an amazing world cup loss at a Bier Garten (and some deer). Next, we drove on to Prague. The first night camping in Prague, the wind shredded our tent. And it rained. The car was dry. But it wasn't a new tent. Or a hotel.
The next day I had a bad cough and a fever. A stranger grabbed my butt. My ex-lover wasn’t walking near me through the square. I felt alone. I found a garbage can that spoke to my writing process at the time.**
From there we went through Interlaken (the itinerary meanders in my memory). Saw Mount Blanc, which we would eventually go up. I would have a panic attack at the top, and my ex-lover would deposit me with strangers to go take scenic pictures.Also, the car was broken into while we camped at the base of this mountain.
We made it to Venice. This is a picture of me on a Gondola. The man manning the boat asked us to kiss for the camera. Lover declined, said it wasn’t important. The next day I read Calvino’s Invisible Cities *in* Venice. Who cares about kissing when you have that book, I guess.
Up to Northern Italy, Bra, the home of the Slow Food Movement, and my dream job at the university there. Went through Dijon, where there is a huge “Darcy” garden, and lots of “Darcy” streets. My lover found that to be a banal coincidence. I wanted to go to the garden. Lover said there was no time.
We finished in Paris. Walking by the Seine, I asked him to kiss me. “Kiss me, we’re in Paris!” were my exact words. “Nah, not right now, I want to wait until it’s more romantic.”***
I had stopped taking pictures in Italy. Therefore, here is a picture from Switzerland that summed up my mood in France. It is how you say, “le resting bitch face”?
Would I do it again, with that Lover? Yes. Deciding to leave a lover while in Paris was the first, and only time, I had a gut instinct. I have a hard time “listening to my gut,” I was happy to know that it works and what it sounds like. My gut instinct sounds like my stomach growling for kisses.
There was nothing romantic in the water that had spilled into our tent, in the canals of Venice, in the Seine, in the lakes we camped by, or in the underground falls in Switzerland (see the picture below that does No justice to the falls in the caves). There was nothing romantic in the soil we slept on, or in the different lands that held so many possibilities. In other words, just pica without the craving.
*Places and dates are authentic; my ex-lover’s name has been withheld as to not be tacky. I use the word “lover” because it grosses me out, and “partner” would connote a sense of connection that we didn’t share. Moreover, I've cut him out of all the pictures for aesthetic reasons.
**At the time I was practicing “OPAD Writing,” which stood for “one page a day.” If I could have brought that can home... if only! Now I use the pomodoro method!
***Ex-Lover, if you are reading this (unlikely): feel free for a rebuttal. Rebuttals from other ex-lovers will be considered, but not given priority.