Monday, 29 February 2016

Where people are

It's noticeable to me that very often the most vivid bits of a travel blog are the interactions with people, reported conversations or bafflement, repartee, etc.  Not the landscape, attractions, venues, destinations, etc, but the smelly beggar, the witty airport worker, the old lady with the blind dog, the very chatty waiter....
See, already, these people spring to life in your imagination.
Our trip to Malaga, flying early tomorrow, is to stay with dear friends. They go from Whitstable to the south of Spain each year because she is not well, carries an oxygen tank with her, adorns her face with breathing tubes to stay alive.   Each year, they say 'You must come and stay while we're there!' and this time, we took them up on their offer. All booked, just a quick trip.
We emailed to find out if they wanted us to bring anything for them, and they asked for DVDs of films, and we even agreed with them which ones we'd take. All hunkydory, ready for the off.
But - another email came in the night, to say her brother (here in Kent) is even more desperately ill than she is, and so as we are preparing to fly to meet them, they are in fact driving back here to see him in hospital.
We have decided to go anyway, stay in their house without them. It feels really odd, out of balance, as if we've lost a limb. There was all the anticipation of meals to be shared, jokes, music, anecdote, strolling around, exploring our friendship a bit more - in the pleasant atmosphere of warmer days and foreign cookery.  But, not to be.
We hope that her brother, who we know slightly, may make a good recovery, and that they get to see him in time if he does not. There's such anguish in this.
People we have known and loved are falling off the end of the high diving board. You look up and see someone there on the brink. Tick tock.

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