April 28, 2007
We laid there. Three twenty-somethings. Curled and scrunched up in the seats of a rental car. Not just any rental car. The cheapest – and thus, the smallest – one we could get. The one that had been our home base for the last ten days as we zig-zagged across and around the island. And here we were, on the eve of our flight home, seeking refuge in this car in the parking lot of the pub where we had first met six years beforehand.
Borrowed pint glasses laid at our feet. Backpacks – overfilling with clothes that wore the aftermath of our adventures as if a map of our travels: grass stains from the morning spent reading on the green, curry and beer spills from a late night in the pubs, tea from a rainy afternoon by the coast, dirt from hiking up in the north – served as pillows while books, newspapers, and magazines were scattered in the limited spare spaces. It was dark outside. Not the urban dark that I was accustomed to navigating. But rural dark. The kind of dark where I didn’t know what lay beyond the windshield. My memory recalled farmland, sheep, and a house. In the morning, I would awake to confirm this, but in the late night, this was as good a guess as any.
Covered by only our raincoats, the both of you fell asleep right away. I closed my eyes and soaked in the drunken lullabies of the pub visitors. ”I met my love by the gas works wall, dreamed a dream by the old canal…” Eventually lyrics and laughter turned into prolonged goodbyes, the closing of car doors, the starts of engines. Headlights beaming across the parking lot from time to time hinting at the land beyond.