Frehel Diaries: The Road Not Taken

He wakes up complaining about his sunburn. I laugh. "It's not funny," he says. He treated his burn with sun tan oil making himself the first self basting turkey. Of course, it's funny.

Unlike other mornings where we go to coffee together, this morning he runs off and leaves me alone for 3 and half hours. Doesn't ask me if I would like to be dropped at the beach. Isn't clear about when he'll be back. Gives me some story about having to have the car checked out. I'm thinking at this point I no longer need the Coquette's Bedside Reference to Talking Dirty in French and now I wish I had taken the David Mamet "What the fuck is your problem" French immersion course.

But being an only child who was often left by my parents, I'm at ease, even in this place, being left alone. I take a walk and explore. I discover I am not far from the beach and from a series of paths at the top of some cliffs with a lovely view. I light up the cigarette I hid from him last night. I breathe the smoke in deep enjoying my little victory. So I'm no longer reliant on him for the beach. I also discover a bakery and three restaurants and I realize that I can probably easily entertain myself until the 15th. It's relief to realize that I don't have to wait for him anymore. Even more, I discover that I actually prefer being alone than attempting to wade through another conversation with him. Being with him and not being understood is worse than being alone.

The night before I had lingered in front of a decadent hotel, the hotel Chauteaubriand. I thought, "If only he would leave me here, send the bags, I would be happy." That's my father's voice. The end of every vacation, he would beg us to leave him wherever we were-New Mexico, Martha's Vineyard-it made no difference. Just pull over the car and leave him, he would plead. The side of the road would be fine, even if we were in the desert with nothing for miles. He would insist he wasn't coming home with us. It terrified me as a child, and it terrified me to hear his echo in my own voice. But that pull is strong. Just leave me here. Go on ahead. I'll be alright.

Especially since the Sauvage leaves me behind anyway. If he doesn't want me by his side, why not leave me where I might be happier?

But then the whole trip to St. Malo had been for me, hadn't it? And he had been so tired on the drive back I had a brief moment of sympathy. He's trying to cope with his parents, and his daughter, and his strange American lover.

But then again, no one told him to drag me to St. Malo in the middle of the night. I would have been much happier had he come back at a decent hour and showed me some affection instead of dragging me around some city ramparts at midnight.

It's hard to know when one is being reasonable in a vacuum. And, after all, I know happy couples who couldn't pull off a 12 hour trip together never mind 13 days without a shared language. And then there are his family entanglements and my disability, just for added extra fun.

While I knew that in taking this trip, I was taking the road less traveled, the way was getting more treacherous, more perilous. It had seemed like a simple choice to keep going forward until the end of the trip, but now it seemed that the road was forking. Which path would I take? Would I end up, as my father had wanted to all those years ago, walking alone beside the road insisting that I be left behind? Or was I simply so afraid of rejection that I was imagining it where none existed?

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