I needed a new bag. I was embarking on the next chapter and it’s alway good to begin afresh with a new bag. In a small provincial town in Southern Ireland you don’t get much choice, so I bought a sports holdall from Kavanaghs (where I bought every pair of runners, spikes and tracksuits I’d ever owned as a child.)
Packed my clothes and a couple of books, said goodbye to my mam and dad when Jim came to the door. This was it, our final pint together as I headed for the UK and new opportunities. We were quite as we walked. “Are you OK about this?” he said! “OK as I’ll ever be!” my reply. There were times when we intuitively knew that silence was called for and this was one of them.
Chatting freely in our local pub over a pint, but with a backdrop of nervous anticipation, we waited for that time when the bus would arrive. “Go on! I’ll grab this” and Jim lifted my bag, crossed the road and handing it over to the bus driver to be thrown in the hold. The big man wrapped his arms around me, “Take care of your self will ye!”. I nodded, boarded to be greeted by the sickly sweet stale smell of sweaty feet and old vomit and made my way to the back seat. As the bus pulled off I looked the back and waved a couple of times at the man I considered my best friend. I was fighting with myself even at that point reasoning the rights and wrongs of this choice. Settling in my seat I took my mind to the mountain. Visualising it’s vista’s, hues and it’s musty fragrance was my default distraction tactic when I needed to dumb down my emotions.
This was it, I was fulfilling my promise to myself, I would amount to more than what was expected of me, I would step out and step up!
I sometimes wonder about that choice, on that day. What if I had decided to stay, to settle! What path would life have taken? But settled is not comfortable for me, I’ve always needed to see around the next corner. Metaphorically, I’ve been taking the bus all my life and enjoying the landscape of my journey in anticipation of what awaits me around the corners.