Tuesday, August 08, 2006

listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees

I come over all four o’clockish and break away from the group, ostensibly to visit the cathedral. Trouble comes along with me. On the way we talk about the need for time to oneself, and I worry silently that when we get there the experience will be ruined by 15 years of visiting religious spaces with my ex. We also establish that earlier when I told everyone that I knew the way, I was actually going in completely the wrong direction; and have a secret ice cream that I will confess to two beers later. I have a small tantrum in the ice cream shop because someone pushes in front of me. Trouble teases me that I have it exceptionally quietly so that no one can tell.

The cathedral when we get there is white and looks sort of stranded. We sit on the steps eating our ice creams and mug at other tourists taking photos, then because there is a service on go down to the crypt, walk all the way around the building, and then finally stroll around the inside. It’s fine: just a cathedral, with none of the lurking miseries that sometimes surface when I do something I used to like doing with the ex. I wonder whether it would be possible to convince the rest of the group that I am deeply religious and have had to come here as it is on the route to Santiago de Compostela. Unlikely, but worth a try, I decide.

On our way back I send a text to Erialc. ‘Where are you?’

‘We are sitting in the Grand Place drinking Pimms champagne and watching firemen pole-dancing round a flagpole’ she replies. I know this to be a lie for several reasons:

1) Erialc does not drink.
2) Earlier we sent everyone a text lying about how early we'd been up for breakfast, and this is clearly in the same vein.
3) It's only 5pm.
4) It's just too far fetched anyhow.

I laugh out loud at the text, and we stroll into the Grand Place. There is a fire engine, a fallen flagpole, and everyone is pissed.