DAY TEN: All's Fair In Love And Eye Contact
Why do I take such deep pleasure in witnessing my Luc struggle? If I’m going to be completely honest, I want to fall to the ground in hysterics every single time he shows the least bit of discomfort. It seems incredibly unkind, but it doesn’t feel that way in my heart. It just goes so deep. I’ve gone through a lot by his side over the last twenty-eight years. He’s seen me in my most vulnerable and helpless moments; mostly behind a smile that hide’s the pain. A couple of times, I admit, falling completely apart as though there was no hope.
So here we are in Santo Domingo after finishing DAY TEN in a luxurious hotel (bunk beds for one night were enough for Luc) as I watch my baby across the room, who doesn’t look so good. Actually, he’s struggled the last two days; our shortest days on the Camino thus far.
But what’s struggling to Luc? Sore feet, ankles, legs? I’ve got news for you baby, all of us pilgrims are sore.
Who am I fooling? I’m only talking about one of the greatest NHL left wingers who's ever played the game. Still, it’s not like I didn’t hear about his aches and pains day after day, year after year—for almost three decades. I lived it. Little old messed up me; with a smile on my face, as I catered to his every need.
I warned him, over and over again, this wasn’t going to be easy. And I made him promise he would leave any unnecessary complaining back home in Los Angeles.
Ha—it’s really strange writing about Luc when he’s ten feet away. Just now, after I finished writing the words ‘Los Angeles,’ he looked over at me. I smiled; that giant smirk that screams I’m up to something.
Are all men such babies?
I got a smile back. Although it was more like a bad impression of Elvis’s crooked smile. I usually don’t even get a response, so I’ll let that permeate in my heart for a minute—knowing he’s just hiding his pain behind that grin, trying his best not complain.
He so wants to complain.
Hooray! Now we both have smiles hiding our bodily discomfort. Only mine is a lot more authentic. Pain is my friend; it's all I've ever known.
Suddenly I don’t feel alone. Together we suffer. Me and my giant baby lifemate, and I’m bursting with joy.
Oh, but listen to this: as we walked today, I decided to bring up Antoine. I know Luc said he was processing, but I’m not sure Antoine has crossed his mind in the last couple of days—him being in so much pain and all.
“I can’t believe we haven’t seen that Antoine guy again,” I said.
“Yeah, that’s right.”
“So…have you processed?”
“What do you mean processed?”
“You said you thought he had recognized you, but realized he was just a nice guy saying hi; that it was strange, and you were processing it.”
“I don’t know. It just made me think. I really thought he recognized me and that’s why he was looking at me like that.”
“Like what?” I asked, “He looked at me pretty much the same way he looked at you.”
“I know Stacia, but it felt weird. He was just looking into my eyes.”
“Well, yeah, that’s pretty much what people do when they talk to someone.”
Luc stayed quiet for a minute or two, then said, “I think, up until now, whenever anyone really looked at me, I just assumed they recognized me."
“Wow. That’s big. And kind of sad—and freaky.”
“Yeah, I guess I’m still processing.”
Oh no you don't, I thought. We’re getting to the bottom of this, and now. “So, going back to that day…how did it make you feel when he looked you in the eyes?”
“Really uncomfortable—and I was stuck in the middle of nowhere with him looking at me like that, just walking in one direction, so I couldn’t just look away and do something else.”
“Um…for your information we were both stuck in the middle of nowhere with Antoine.”
“Yeah, but you’re good like that, I mean you really look at people.”
“And you have the hardest time even looking me in the eyes.”
“Well, yeah. But I’m getting better, don’t you think?”
“A wee, wee, little bit,” I smiled, trying to be playful with him, but Luc didn’t even notice I was looking in his direction. “So, do you think you learned something from Antoine? You know what they say about the Camino and it’s many lessons.”
Out of excitement I responded, “Really, and what may that be?”
“Well, when I get back in LA I’m going to start really looking people in the eyes. You know, like at work and stuff.”
Oh how my Luc can find a way to blow a good conversation. At work and stuff? How about starting with your wife?
Luc has a challenging time looking me in the eyes even during intimate moments. I don't take it personally, it's oddly difficult for him. Eye contact is not his strength. Still, it drives me crazy, and I’ve talked and talked to him about how important eye contact is—and to me to me personally. And now, because of Antoine’s great Camino lesson, EVERYONE AT WORK IS GOING TO BENEFIT FROM IT.
Now I need to process.
Maybe for days.
As a matter of fact, I hope we run into Antoine again, and he and I get into a mad and passionate eye gazing competition and see if Luc learns a lesson from that. ;)
Arriving, by foot, into Santo Domingo. Not sure why Domingo in our little song is not plural. Delirium?