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on the road

Yesterday, I was on the road from noon to ten o’clock, from Montpellier to Milan by car, train, bus, plane, bus, subway, foot. First, the train was nearly an hour and a half late.

In the station: a distributor of short stories – your choice of one, three or five minutes long – 

and a book tree – take one, leave one. Love both of these.

The ride, once the train arrived, was very comfortable, as French trains are. Arrival in Marseilles in a teeming downpour, found the airport bus, traffic jam on the stormy highway to the airport, very slow in the rain, but again, no panic because I’d left lots of time. The Twin Jets counter was of course at the farthest end of this widespread airport, and there was no counter set up for the flight – it’s such a small company, I even wondered, before getting to the airport, if it existed or if I’d invented it. While waiting, I had a glass of wine and a pasta salad. Even with all the delays, I was ridiculously early.

And then of course the plane was late arriving and late leaving; I chatted with a nice bilingual woman from Lake Como who taught me how to pronounce Stazione Centrale. When the plane arrived, we sloshed across the tarmac in the rain, onto a rocky flight in a tiny airplane, one seat on each side, where I had a seat at the very back next to the heater, and my legs started to melt. Down in the rainy darkness into Milan and a bus from plane to airport.

With my usual cheer, I’d imagined the difficulties of the next bit – clearing customs, waiting endlessly for my suitcase, finding the train to the city … and it was all as easy and quick as could be. No customs, the bags arrived almost as soon as we did, the train to the Stazione Centrale easy to find and I’d bought and printed my ticket in Toronto. This city hosted the Olympics not long ago, so I should have known it’d be set up for tourists.

An hour’s ride in the wet darkness, and then out to find Bruce, who said he’d be waiting right by the Sephora in the station. No Bruce. Look up and down, text – we’d been texting all day – no reply. By this point, 10 p.m., I was too tired to panic. And then, looking through a window to the other side where people without tickets waited, there he was, my Brooz! The system had changed since he was last here, and people waiting are not allowed on the quais.

Hugs and a long walk in the drizzle home, to the airbnb he’d found for us – funky, full of antiquey things, ducks, jugs, molds, my kind of junk, lovely, two bedrooms, very reasonable because it’s just beyond the fashionable boundaries of the town. We got caught up and I was overjoyed to remove my sweaty clothes. Slept wonderfully.

And this is who I saw this morning, making me porridge. I am a lucky woman.




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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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