Oh such a hard week we have had, but this afternoon La Professoressa went into that familiar mode--preparing for one of her international trips--rushes to the bank, to her office for needed papers, to La Mananas for two weeks worth of fruit for me, and most importantly of all, off to Richard, her beloved chiropractor who knows all the wayward bones in her back and can charm them back into place. Back home, I iron her just -decided- on- must- have shirts as she packs for her transition from Australian summer to English winter. Cello and I sit on the edge of the bed watching the process, an experienced packer is this woman, so quick, so wisely considered, one medium sized suitcase, one carry on bag with wheels into which go her computer, papers, books. In a few minutes all is ready. She gives me that dreaded nod and I call the taxi, always sad at her going--as the Italians say, partire e morire--taking leave is a little death.
The taxi pulls up, I stand at the gate, with Cello at my feet, his tail hanging low, we hug, kiss good-bye, whisper, "thank you for all you have given me" and so the hard week comes to an end with La Professoressa doing what she loves so dearly, doing what brought us together in the first place, flying off into the night, back towards Europe, her head packed with ideas on women and human rights, her itinerary one of visits with old friends, and classes to be taught, conferences to be attended, London and Paris her destinations. Nothing annoys her now, not the long wait in Bahrain or Singapore, not the dashes to her connections--buses, trains from airports to hotels and back again--not the prospect of sleeping upright for 20 some hours, her back already dreaming of Richard's restorative touch. Ten years ago this delight in leaving her home behind brought her to me in New York, with Cuba's sun still strong on her face, on her arms.
And how we travelled together--to London, to Dorset and the English coast, to Athens and Mykonos, Santorini and Crete, to Paris and Copenhagen, to Palestine/Israel and always to New York. But now Cello and I stand at our front gate and wave good-bye to the Red Head as she pulls away from our weatherboard house on Fitzgibbon Avenue; she is already talking with the Lebanese driver who has posted moments from his lost geographies on his dashboard, and then she turns for a last wave. The taxi disappears down Dawson Street. Cello looks up at me, his dark eyes even darker. Just you and me now, he seems to say. We make a promise to care for each other as best we can in the long weeks ahead until our exuberant traveller returns.