Walking Holiday

“I’m here now.”
“I didn’t send for you.”
“I thought you did.”  I lightly touch the picture in my pocket, the fragile connection that held the first ray of hope for many months.
“I love this place.” Her voice was strong and clean, confident, a far cry from the slightly dazzled little girl voice I used to know.  She wasn’t really talking to me.  To the couple at the next table?  The green folds of hillside beyond the sparkling water? To herself?
A waiter strode toward us, greeted her like an old friend. “Suzannah!’  They both smiled warmly.  “Is today walking or shooting?”
“Shooting.”  She pointed to the camera at her feet.  I hadn’t even noticed it.  You must pay closer attention,  I reminded myself, in an echo of her old complaint.  I can make up for those days now.
“Lovely camera.  What’s on the shooting agenda for today?”  I mustn’t overdo the interest.  Just enough, but not too much.
She didn’t answer, just picked up the camera and walked around behind me, clicking. At least one of those shots was bound to be a twin of the photo in my pocket. The one she sent to me in a hand-addressed envelope.  The one I thought was a gesture of reconciliation. My picture framed a lake with mountains rising behind it, with just enough visual clues to find her.
“I hired a car,” I offered.  “I can drive you to the most remote photogenic places.”
She gave me a blistering look.  I shivered and mentally kicked myself.  What was I thinking?  All those brochures in our flat, left behind: “Walking Holidays in the Lake District”.  I had assumed she was discarding the brochures, just as she was discarding me. I never dreamed she was really that interested in week-long walks.  But here she is.  And here I am, trying to win back this precious person who has become a stranger.
“How well can you read a compass?” she asked.
I take a deep breath, measuring myself against rolling hills bathed in green mystery.
“I’m ready to learn.”
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Susan Dawson
Susan Dawson (@susan-dawson)
1 year ago

I hope he gets a bit more perceptive in the coming week. Two well drawn characters, Fuji.

Susan Dawson
Susan Dawson (@susan-dawson)
1 year ago
Reply to  Fuji

Why the English lakes?

Susan Dawson
Susan Dawson (@susan-dawson)
1 year ago
Reply to  Fuji

No, not misguided. We managed a holiday there in October.

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Susan Dawson
Susan Dawson (@susan-dawson)
1 year ago
Reply to  Fuji

It was in our tier 1, so we escaped from tier 2, which was allowed at the time. A wet day in Keswick was quite hairy, though they had enough walking shops to dilute the masked crowds and could certainly kit out your week-walk duo. We braved a few lunches out, tentatively. The fresh air of Derwentwater, Buttermere and Bassenthwaite lake (the only actual lake in the Lake District) was lovely, before we returned to face November lockdown. At least we got one holiday in 2020, plus a summer when we could stay with family members.

Andrew Carter
Andrew Carter (@andrew-carter)
1 year ago

I knew you had great taste, Fuji. A lovely story, and a little self-absorbed by the narrator just as the Romantics were. The lake poets, and their long walks in the Lake District. What a time it must have been in the Romantic Period. My favourite poets are Coleridge and Wordsworth, and Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” opened my eyes to such sublime wit. Her subtle humour so artfully exposed the artist-hypocrisy. Forgive my indulgence, I envy you live so close to such history and verdant splendour. You are a very talented writer, Fuji.

Susan Dawson
Susan Dawson (@susan-dawson)
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Carter

It is me who lives within reach, not Fuji.

Andrew Carter
Andrew Carter (@andrew-carter)
1 year ago
Reply to  Susan Dawson

Susan, send me a ticket. I’d love to walk those fells, crags and screes where there’s so much history. And Windermere, even the name sounds fantastical. You are truly blessed to have access to it all.

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Andrew Carter
Andrew Carter (@andrew-carter)
1 year ago
Reply to  Fuji

A week-long walk through Windermere and its surrounds would be like something out of a mixture of Tolkien, Wordsworth and Coleridge… a dream garden. Imagine the montage of photos. Your story and conversation about such a holiday got me writing ’til dawn.

Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
1 year ago

Well Fuji, what are we to to make of the two characters? And did you purposely pick the background of the Lakes, as the perfect stage setting where differences do not matter, as mother nature places everything in perspective. Intriguing!

Zena Wilde
Zena Wilde (@zena-wilde)
1 year ago

I love this story – mainly because I actually live in the Lakes, and I’m always cheering for more authors to write about Cumbria  ? . Really intriguing characters, I’d love to know more about their backstory. Hope you get to come and visit soon, Fuji, I truly think it’s the most beautiful part of the world.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

Another nice story, Fuji. You are very brilliant 🙂

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