DAY SIX: Melting Into Each Other's Worlds Through Our Differences
I had every intention not to compare the Camino I did five years ago with this one, but two days ago, after coming down a steep hill from Alto del Perdon (hill of forgiveness; where a giant iconic sculpture of medieval pilgrims stands just outside of Pamplona), we walked into a massive valley of dried-out wheat fields.
I got excited and said, "Luc, this is it! This is the place I told you about." He didn't respond, so I kept talking. "I'll never forget walking into this valley—it was magical."
Now remember, it was April, not July, so the wheat wasn't dried out yet; it was lively and fresh. There was a strong breeze that day and all the wheat looked like a million golden feathers; shimmering under the rays of sun that peaked through the clouds above. It also made the most unusual and fascinating noise I've ever heard—as though the entire field was whispering a symphony in my ear. Oddly, it was the first time I felt fully content being alone. Like everything was going to be okay. So I explained it to Luc, once again, as he stomped down the hillside.
"Do you remember me telling you about this?" I asked.
He didn't respond, he just kept walking; lost in thought.
So, I did the same; down the Camino path which parts straight through the dried-out wheat field while reliving the exact same feeling I had half a decade ago.
That was until Luc blurted out, "It kind of makes me sick looking at this; to think about how much all this wheat is polluting our world."
"What? What are you talking about?" I answered.
"I saw something on that documentary, you know—What the Health—it was all about this," he responded in his French-Canadian accent.
"I think you're confused, Luc."
It's amazing how two people can share the exact same space and time, but have two different realities.
Today, the walk out of Estella was a lot of that. Me reliving something that doesn't exist anymore and Luc being lost in thought. He walked either behind or in front of me; once and awhile talking about political tweets he read—the last thing I want to be reminded of here.
It's so different being with your partner on the Camino; sharing every moment together. When I was alone, and in pain, I would literally just laugh—it's all I could do. And I felt incredibly strong, even at my weakest point. But being with your partner, somehow you don't feel as strong. At least I haven't. Maybe because there's someone to complain to. Not that I'm a complainer, I'm not.
So, we walked the first three hours like two pilgrim strangers, from different countries—more like different planets, until I couldn't hold back any longer.
"Luc, I made a commitment to make this Camino about us—and all I'm doing is reliving how great it was five years ago—without you. We had such a great day yesterday—and ever since you woke up this morning you've been lost. You've actually been a real shit. You know what? I'd rather not walk with you today. I feel awful being next to you," I said, shedding a tear or two out of pure exhaustion; falling apart on the Camino for the very first time.
Luc would normally get defensive and snap back, but he didn't. He just stayed quiet for about five never ending minutes as I walked five feet ahead swiping my tears away.
Finally, he caught up to me and said, give me your poles. So I did. Then he took my hand in his and we continued to walk in silence. Our moments melting together as one.
How manly is that? —Give me your poles.
It's really all I needed.
Here's where it gets weird though.
Luc has really short legs, long arms and a long torso. I have, well, long legs and a fairly normal size torso. So, it felt like I was holding hands with a gorilla.
I didn't share with Luc how much pain I was in, and suddenly the force of his giant arm felt like it was about to tug my shoulder right out of its socket; the pain continued to radiate throughout my neck, back, already painful hips, legs, feet, and well, just about everything.
And we continued to walk like that. Mile after mile, until, thank god, he let go.
I was sweating harder holding his hand than I did climbing over the entire Pyrenees.
My point for telling this story is it's okay to be different. Luc and I are incredibly different. I'm off in my colorful, imaginative world, and Luc's practical and driven by whatever interests him (which has been pretty much limited to hockey). What's important is to somehow melt into each other's worlds. Sometimes it's as simple as holding her, or his hand. Or saying how you feel.
But most importantly: listening.
And that's what Luc did.
It was tender.
It was kind.
It was everything.
Even though my body hurts worse because of it. ;)