Friday, 3 January 2014

An Egg Roll and a Cup of Tea

Victoria: You probably can't remember your family.
The Doctor: Oh yes, I can when I want to. And that's the point, really. I have to really want to, to bring them back in front of my eyes. The rest of the time they... they sleep in my mind and I forget.
In mid-December, I went to my chiropractor, and found myself with about an hour and a half before I had to be back at work, so as she works near St Catherine, I decided to go to the Breakwater Café.
The Breakwater Café has been there for ages. It has stubbornly resisted the urge to go up market, and start doing Thai food, or revamp itself into "post nosh" like El Tico and Braye Café or Wayside. There are fewer and fewer plain traditional beach cafes around who have not succumbed to the urge to go upmarket.
I still have fond memories of going to El Tico when the rain was pounding down, and the old windows were rattling in the wind, but the home made quiche and jacket potato with fresh salad made it all worthwhile. Simple fare at reasonable prices, and all gone now.
Some beach cafes are just open for Spring, Summer and Autumn anyway, and not most of the year. And some are just stalls, without any inside seating area, and chairs and tables. But come rain or shine, there is always, like a fixed point in a changing world, the Breakwater café. Sometimes we need fixed points.
This was my fixed point, and I ordered an egg roll and a cup of tea. That was, I realised, what I had been intending to do all along. For other people, just a snack, but for myself, a memory.
I used to come down to St Catherine with Annie quite often, and we would eat in the Breakwater café. She would probably have a herbal tea, or a cold drink; I'd have a cup of tea. And we would both enjoy rolls, often egg rolls. Cooked egg, the yoke still slightly running, inside a tasty fresh roll is one of the most enjoyable experiences, and taken with hot sweet tea.
And as I sat there, enjoying the roll, I could picture her looking across at me, and how we would chat on so many things, or sometimes, just be still, enjoying the moment. Once we walked to the end of the Breakwater and back, but it was too much for her without a rest at the end. Once she had a mobility scooter, she was back down, and we both enjoyed the walk, watching the fishermen, savouring the views.
We also took off on a memorable trip with Mark and John, in John's boat, heading out to see until we were close to the Brittany ferry. On the way back, the boat went at speed through the wake of a faster vessel, and for a hair raising moment, it looked as if we might be thrown out, as it tipped alarming over. Thankfully it righted itself, we picked ourselves up, and the boat glided at a more sedate pace to Gorey to refuel, and then gently back to St Catherine's slipway.
And once it was just the two of us at St Catherine, just sitting, holding hands, watching the moon's reflection flickering on the waves below, and the stars shining brightly above whenever there was a break in the clouds.
Loss is something always remaining, and there is always grief. Moments of grief can return triggered by anything, a scent, an image, someone who looks vaguely familiar but is not. It is now over 4 years since Annie's sudden death, and I still miss her keenly.
The memories don't go away, but for the most part, they don't surface. But sometimes, as when I was down at St Catherine, having the snack we used to share, the memory returns. And it is a happy, joyful one. The simple pleasures of life are just as important as the greater moments, and they are the memories that make the rich weave of life's tapestry.
Breakwater at Midnight
By the breakwater, hand in hand
We walk at night, and do not sleep;
Beneath clear waters, we see sand,
And seaweed swaying in the deep,
A canopy of clouds drifting above,
And shining lights reflect below;
This is a night so made for love,
Of moving gently with the flow;
Distant beacons flare with light,
Shadows flicker across the bay,
We marvel at the tranquil sight;
Lovers come by night not day,
Face to face, embrace, adore,
Kissing sweetly by the shore.


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