June 8th, 1989

June 8th, 1989

South of France

When I woke up this morning there was a note on Ben’s pillow. It read, “I’ll be at work all day, not sure what time I’ll be back tonight.” My first thought was that he must have come back while I was asleep and my second thought was how impersonal his shitty note was.

I wandered around the caravan feeling utterly depressed and totally lost. I made tea and ate the rest of the chocolate that was in the fridge, then I found a bag of prawn cocktail crisps in my bag that I bought at Gatwick airport on my way here. I made more tea,

polished off the last of the jammie dodgers and could no longer ignore the little voice in my head.

This is what it said:

“Stop it!”

“Get dressed.”

“Go to the beach.”

“And maybe buy some wine.”

I did three of the four things then found my way to the beach. It was a gorgeous day with a slight breeze, not too hot, just how I like it. I was strolling along the beach looking for a quiet spot where I could wallow in self-pity, when I heard someone calling out, “Kathy. Kathy. Kathy.”

I walked a few more steps and stopped when I made the connection. I turned around to find “wee ish a bell,” walking towards me.

“Are you deef?” she asked with a chuckle.

I couldn’t be bothered to tell her my name isn’t Kathy. “Hi Isobel, how are you?”

“Pure brilliant, wit you doing here by yerself?”

“Oh, it’s a long story”, I sighed. “Is your friend with you?”

“Aye, she’s having a wee kip in the sun. C’mon sit wi us, a could do wi a wee bit a company.”

My first reaction was to say no but there was something sweet about her demeanor that I sensed I needed, so I said, “Lead the way.”

“By the way,” she continued, “thanks for helping me oot the other night. Morag said a was steamboats.”

I laughed. “Morag was right.”

I produced the bottle of wine I bought on my way to the beach (I had no intention of drinking it, I was only following the advice of the voice in my head) and that got their attention. I ended up spending all afternoon on the beach and allowed the girls to ply me with more wine they’d purchased on their way to the beach (it is France after all.)

I spilled the beans about everything that’s been happening and it felt good being able to hear my thoughts out loud. I tried my best to keep pace with them but by early evening I admitted defeat using the cooler weather as an excuse to leave. I staggered back to the caravan, hoping to find Ben waiting for me with open arms and a change of heart.

With my hopes dashed, I fell into bed and only just woke up a short while ago. It’s almost midnight and still no sign of Ben. I can hear Isobel and Morag laughing. They’re sitting outside, playing techno music on a boombox and every so often I hear glasses clinking, or maybe it’s bottles.

Surely they can’t still be drinking?

Maybe I should go over and see.


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