DAY NINE: Luc’s Way
I woke up this morning greatly missing my lifemate, but soon realized being away from Luc’s vexatious nightly bed habits for a night wasn’t so bad—I actually got seven hours of sleep for the first time since we’ve been away.
Oh, and did I mention I’m officially sick?
I have to admit, I thought it was an old wives’ tale that someone can catch a cold from air conditioning. That is until it happened to me two nights ago. I don’t understand Celsius, and according to Luc, I had the thermostat at fifty-five degrees; mind you, blowing directly onto my side of the bed.
So, with a cold, and averaging five hours of sleep per night and eighteen miles per day in the, at times, scorching heat—with a body that's screaming, ‘fuck you’...one would think I wouldn’t want to get out of bed.
The pure excitement of trekking mile after mile on the Camino, no matter what the circumstances, somehow DEEPLY excites me.
So much so, I’m convinced each new day will be the best day of my life.
And I’m pretty much right.
Give me a new place to explore and I’m the happiest lady alive. Give me the same place to explore over and over again and I’ll find something new to get excited about.
When you live to experience, life can truly be that easy. Moreover, a lot more colorful.
Although, sharing experiences with your lifemate, at least mine, can quickly yank you right out of the clouds.
Which isn’t a bad thing.
It’s just different.
For instance, experiencing the Camino de Santiago with Luc feels more like experiencing the Camino with Clark Griswold.
Luc has a way of pulling me right out of my carefree moments into me thinking, “Seriously, is this really happening?”
For example: Every continent has its own history of stone piles. You may have seen it before, a pile of rocks placed along a path in the middle of nowhere. Well, I read that on along the Camino de Santiago they used to be called milladoiros. They were placed by pilgrims to show the way to those following as a kind gesture, as well as wishing them a safe journey.
In the past I’ve witnessed pilgrims tenderly kissing these stones and gently placing them on a pile or on a monument, as well as pilgrims tightly clinching their rocks; eyes closed, most probably praying to the heavens above. Let’s just say, every pile seems to be profoundly meaningful.
Well, that is until Luc gets close to one.
My Luc has been finding a rock to add to every pile in honor of his dear mom, Mado, who left us five years ago when I myself was trekking this very path, about seventy-five miles ahead of where we are this very moment.
I’ll never forget the day I answered his call; his voice barely squeaking out those three words, “Stacia...she’s gone,” followed by deep gutted cries in unison which had no sound. Just bottomless anguish that could tear a heart right in half.
God she was so loved.
I would have stayed finishing my Camino; remembering my times alone I had with Mado in Europe; taking her with me one step at a time—and she would have supported that. But my Luc needed me. So I found my way to Madrid and boarded a flight to Montreal, went to the funeral, and flew back to continue where I left off here on the Camino.
I say that because, the rocks suddenly felt different to me. I no longer observed another—I was the one being observed. As I continued, I placed a stone for Mado on each rock pile I came across; talking to her as though she was there; at times tears streaming down my cheeks, and at times a smile taking over my entire face; remembering the vivid and intimate laughter we once shared.
I felt her.
I still feel her.
I haven’t shared any of that with Luc. I was so devastated in losing Mado for several reasons, but it was his mother, and I wanted to respect and honor that, not making his loss about me.
So during our Camino here, on his own, he started placing those stones on each rock pile we passed, for Mado, as I once again became the observer. Only this time it felt very different.
As Luc would place a rock for Mado, he somehow consistantly found a way to knock over other people’s profoundly meaningful stones, sending them tumbling to the ground; pile...after pile...after pile, along the path of the Camino de Santiago.
These piles have now taken on a whole new meaning.
And as I’ve said, Luc makes a lot of involuntary sounds, but not only when he’s sleeping.
“Did you just whistle?” I asked, five miles into our day
“I think so. I think I just did that whistle through my nose: accidentally. It was weird—it just came out—and when you asked me if I whistled, it confirmed it. I did!”
Ten minutes later, it happened again.
Twenty minutes later, there was an unconscious moan, like the ones you hear extremely old people make.
“You did it again Luc. You made your great, great grandpa noise,” I said.
“I did! I heard that this time!” he answered, fascinated and horrified at the same time.
Oh, and I haven’t written about the keys.
The hotels around here still have an old giant bronze and heavy ornament attached to the key. And, after we are fortunate enough to stay in one of these hotels, it never fails...ten or so miles into our day, Luc pulls a giant ornament with a key attached out of his pocket and says, “Shit, I knew I felt heavier today.”
I could go on and on, but, as I write my Luc is literally sitting across from me, patiently waiting—knowing I’m most probably writing about him. This whole waiting on me is a new experience for him, and, ironically, I think he’s enjoying reading my blog—thank god he takes great pleasure in laughing at himself. Come to think about it, he’s been treating me a little different. He held my hand today and sincerely asked, “Is your back okay? I don’t feel like a gorilla, do I?”
So to you Luc, as I know you will be reading this: Yes baby, you most always feel like a gorilla. Perhaps you cannot tug so hard on my arm.
And while I have your attention, I want to thank you. Thank you for snapping me out of my moments just so I could have the chance to experience yours: Luc's Way. And, even if it’s not always funny at the time, for instance when you unconsciously knocked that sweet elderly lady over at the mall (yes, that actually happened once to those who are still reading), you’ve given me some of the best stories to tell and write about.
My dearest, kind, not always present and clumsy man, I have so loved sharing this precious time with you; having you ALL TO MYSELF.
These past days I’ve realized why I fell so madly in love with you in the first place. It was never your famed title, it was you—that giant beautiful and shiny soul underneath it all.
Mado must be so, so incredibly proud.
Now, let's go have some fun in this mysterious hot tub we're about to experience! Oh, and can you please stop overheating the adapters? As you know, you almost ended my life last night. ;)
Me delirious chatting away at the end of yet another day.