Life has been progressing well in Blighty. It was strange at first, but now Leela and I have settled into our new home, we have a routine- something that I didn’t know I needed.
We rise in the mornings, I make a flask of tea and we walk across the countryside. I like to play an audiobook in the background, some epic fantasy I’m listening to at the moment, and I allow myself to slip away into another world for an hour and a half.
The wet grass slides beneath my feet, exposing more mud as I try and choose my foothold carefully. My fitness had taken a dive since being on the boat and I’m trying my best to look after my health before I go back. I want to be healthy in my heart and body. That hour and a half is the chance I have in the morning to simply enjoy myself, feel my body moving and to breathe in the fresh air. I’ve even been resisting the delicious pork pies in my mother’s fridge from the Butchers.
I gaze around in the fog, finding more greenery becoming exposed from the dewy clouds as I move closer. The occasion dogwalker pass us on the path, their cheeks red and scarfs wrapped around their necks like cobras. I pause my audiobook here and there to say good morning and to compliment their dogs on their fluffy ears or coat. Leela always gets a lot of attention and it’s wonderful seeing her so happy in the open fields.
The gravel crunches beneath my trainers and I tell myself for the forth time that I need to get some wellies.
And a better coat, I think, pulling it closer around myself. It belongs to my sister and the puffer gillet I wear beneath is my mother’s. Beneath that I am huddled into my dad’s jumper and the last layer is a t-shirt that used to belong to my friend Chloe. I’m in dire need of new clothes but I can’t bring myself to buy any. I’m holding out for Christmas and hoping that my mother has bought me the annual gift of underwear and socks so I don’t have to go and spend money on small pieces of fabric.
We can always rely on mothers to buy us underwear.
The cold air whooshes in and out of my lungs, clouds escaping my tea-stained lips as they curl up into oblivion.
My flask of tea is huddled in my right pocket as always and my keys in my left. I take out my tea and take another swig, feeling the warmth bursts in my throat and mouth.
Soon we skirt around the path and start to walk over the rugby field, meaning that we have started our way back. Part of me wishes that this could be my life. To simply disappear into the green fields, have a tiny cottage somewhere, make tea and sell scones to the locals. Another part of me craves to pack everything up and throw myself onto Papageno, to take her around the edges of America, or maybe the Pacific. Maybe I should go back to Tortola and see my friends or maybe Grenada is the best choice.
I’ll work out, become healthy, buy all of the outrageous bikinis I’ve dreamed of, make the EarleWrites shop a success so we can afford whatever we need to make Papageno a wonderful place to live. I’ll stop smoking, I’ll meditate in the mornings, I’ll say yes to more things- yes to diving, yes to hiking, yes to the beach, yes to life-
I feel like a lot more drive has entered my spirit, because I’ll be honest with you, I was scared that returning to England was going to make me want to stay here. Remain in the safety, the known.
But if anything, being back in Nuneaton has shown me that she will always be here, waiting for me with open arms. She is my heart, and she is always here to revive my spirit whenever I need. So, there is no fear to go, there is no danger. I can go, live life, build memories, experiences, make friendships and start LIVING again.
I’m so excited to get back to Papageno, to take advantage of it all, to be that focused driving force that she needs to carry this journey on.
I look down as Leela as she pants happily by my side. We’ve become so close and it tears my heart a little at the thought of leaving her behind. But it would be more selfish to take her with me. She has a routine here, she has a home and she is loved by many. She will remain here, looked after by friends in my apartment. If the case ever happened that I decided to live on Papageno full time in the future, of course she would come with me.
But for now, I feel as though spending half my time on the boat and half time on land is good enough for me.
So, I will return in February and will spend 2 months over there. I’ll figure it out. I’m not tying myself down my numbers, expectations or predictions. I will do what feels right.
Many things have happened since I have been here. I have been reunited with family I haven’t seen for fifteen years (more on that next time) and created an environment that I feel safe and happy in. I’ve just finished my very last Christmas commission and all that remains to do is to create new items for the shop. (btw the shop is https://www.earlewrites.com/shop )
I turn off my audiobook as we near traffic, the drone from the cars drowning out the narrator’s voice too much to enjoy it anymore. We cross over the traffic lights, my glasses speckled with rain as we make our way to the door of our home.
“Good girl, Leela,” I say as I pull out my keys, shivering in the freezing wind. “Not long now,” I say to myself, glancing up at the dark clouds gathering in the distance.
And whereas the sunshine and the blue oceans of the Caribbean are indeed calling, right now, nothing can beat the drizzle and grey skies of Britain.
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