Not all trips go smoothly.
I’d like to say that they did. I really do. I’d like to tell you that every single journey is a cakewalk, that my hair looks consistently wonderful and blows in the wind as my husband and I frolick through fields hand-in-hand.
But, oh, that would be a big steaming pile of hooey, and I can feel my nose growing longer when I just think of telling you that. And frankly, I can’t afford to have this nose of mine get any longer that it already is, or I’ll have to start buying it its own seat on our next flight.
That just makes bad financial sense. So I’m going to tell you the bitter truth: Ireland was rough.
It wasn’t Ireland’s fault, mind you. Ireland was beautiful and sunlit (I’m not kidding), and so, so friendly. Nor was it the occasion that brought us to that part of the world at fault – we headed to Belfast to see a friend get married, and our table at the reception was – as the groom put it – a little party in and of itself. We were surrounded by people we know and love, some of whom were even at our own wedding. We had a fantastic time.
And our accommodations were grand. The food was excellent (there was sticky toffee pudding and honeycomb ice cream and bags and bags of chewy sour candy, fresh oysters and rich stews and fish and chips and dense, earthy breads). There were glasses and glasses of Guinness and talkative folks with fantastic accents; beautiful, blue-eyed women and men with bright smiles who referred to everyone as “love”.
It was great.
So, no, the problem we had in Ireland didn’t actually have anything to do with Ireland. It had to do with us. And I can say this definitively, because the problem followed us all the way back home, creeping into our suitcase with us and releasing itself in our home, a vicious and unwelcome stowaway that I wish had fallen off somewhere over the Atlantic.
Finally, finally, we exorcised that demon, sent the specter packing into the ether, but its presence was still felt, the wounds it left not yet healed, so that for days afterwards we still chose our words carefully, we tread lightly, so that our voices didn’t lure it back into our happy home.
(I am incredibly proud of that last paragraph.)
The point was, it wasn’t the best trip in the world, and that was our fault. I look at our faces in some of the photos, and I can see it. I can see that we were angry with one another. I can see that we were stressed, and frustrated and really, really pissed off.
But we still went out. We still saw things. We still took a ton of photos and held hands. We kissed. And even when we didn’t kiss, we shared glasses of whiskey and pressed our lips to the same spot on the glass. A small but significant gesture that said, “I am still willing to get drunk and go home with you. And only you, for the rest of my damn life.”
And we still had some stupid fun, too.
It was not the best trip in the world, but by no means a bad one. That I should hold such a positive impression after all the personal turmoil is a testament to the country and its people.
Looking at the pictures don’t make me sad. Thinking back on the days that we fought aren’t that painful, because it was such a temporary thing. It would be like looking at a photo of rain cloud and worrying that you are going to get wet.
It was just a long, shitty fight on an otherwise nice trip. And the photos where we aren’t quite smiling at one another crack me up more than anything else. Because, good heavens. There are times when I look like I might slit someone’s throat.
But as I look at the sky in those photos, changing from sun to rain and back to sun again, I am reminded that things do turn out okay in the end.
You find yourself back where you should be.
And ready for your next trip together.