New routines have now become normality. The morning bakery walk, round the outside of the village to the stunning views from the horse-trough. Squeezing fresh oranges for breakfast. Driving past the lake down to the coast for coffee and intercambio. A bit of writing. A bit of reading. A tapas or two. Planning an excursion. Pointy-hooded processions and olive-spitting competitions. Walks in the mountains. Catching up with friends in the UK via Facebook.
You become accustomed to what was new and exciting. It stops feeling like a holiday or a fantasy, starts being a way of life. Life in the Axarquía, life in paradise.
Facebook, Skype, emails and WhatsApp. Instant communication. Keeping in touch. Sharing photos, sharing news about the missing cat, the new baby, the ghastly first date, the holiday, the driving test, the dreadful choir rehearsal or the triumphant concert, and the birthday party you missed. It’s just like I’m there, with my friends. Most of the time.
Except I’m not. I can’t be in two places. I’ve made a choice. Home is here in Spain. New friends are here in Spain. Old friends are far away. Facebook and Skype keep me in contact, but only up to a point. Which is the real life? And which is just fantasy?
I think I’ve moved. I feel that this is home now. I think I’ve stretched the elastic, or even cut the ties. And then suddenly there’s a tug. Because actually, there are ties you cannot cut. Elastic stretches but then it pulls back.
Ryanair is great for planned visits, for a round of lunches and sleepovers, gossip and tea, for birthday parties and weddings. But it’s no good for unplanned coffee, a laugh or a spontaneous hug. And when you hear the word that can’t be spoken, fifteen hundred miles feels just too far. She’s braver than I am – she says the word. And it’ll all be OK. The scalpel will see to that. It will all be OK. So why am I sitting in paradise with tears running down my face? I couldn’t help if I was any nearer. I can’t make it go away. I’m useless here, but I couldn’t make a difference if I was there.
Suddenly this stops feeling like real life. Oranges or avocados straight from the trees, sand between the toes, paella, fiestas, and the Saturday morning seaside photo for Facebook. That’s the life I moved here for. None of it has changed, none of it is less than wonderful. It is the paradise I had imagined. Except that because I’m here, I can’t be there when all you need is an unplanned coffee, a laugh or a spontaneous hug. I’m sorry.
© Tamara Essex 2014