I was always told that in life, if there is a beginning there is an end. Yes beginnings are hard. You’re new, you don’t know what to do and wish you were still in your dear comfort zone.
Then you begin to build a new life. And Mate, it feels good. You start filling your life up with friends, kids, half lovers half monsters. Aka a family. And you forget that you ever were new once. It feels like you’ve always been where you are. You forget that , before , you’ve had other beginnings , and other ends too.
I was tidying up my room the other day (did just I just call it MY room?) and I found it. The End.
It’s a plane ticket. Departure 17th July 2011 10h35 from Brisbane airport. I remember buying it , a month ago. All excited by my future new beginning. Then I decided that the End was too scary to deal with so I forgot all about it.
Oh dear. I have not even told YOU have I?
It all started with a Facebook post ( 21st Century fairy tale) My best friend from Uni posted that she decided to go for a holiday in Thailand in July. I quickly looked at the globe and decided it was just next door to me. And last time I saw her in Dublin where she lives now , we promised to meet in an exotic place next time. I also promised her a blue eyed Aussie surfer with a 6 pack . But that’s another story. And I’m still working on it ‘’Mamour’’ ( that’s how I will call her in this blog)
1 week later I was sharing traveling stories with my travel agent from Israel when I realized I had just bought a single ticket to Phuket. Yep, single mate. As in New life, New beginnings. I know I’ve hardly seen Australia bla bla bla . Who said I had to follow rules? B.O.R.I.N.G.
Anyway, I did my best to forget all about it and went on with my life as if nothing had happened.
“ When are you going to tell everyone that you’re leaving?’’ my housemate told me, trying to help. ‘’ You know, you’re sort of seeing a guy and you sort of have 2 jobs ’’
‘’ Of course I’m going to tell them. Don’t be ridiculous’’. Of course I never did. I hate endings. But you know Life, it always reminds you.
‘’ How long do we have the pleasure to have you for?’’ My manager at the restaurant asked me. I love her. I could not lie or pretend. It was hard not to make a fool of myself. Because I love her. So I did what I do best . I was sorry to exist. ‘’ well sort of 17th July. I’m kind of going to Thailand. Maybe. No, actually I’ve got a ticket. But I will be back. Sometime. Don’t know. I’m sorry’’
Shut up Annabelle.
Then my hours dropped dramatically. They suddenly did not need me ‘’as much’’ . Damn.
I went and see Gary , my boss from my other job, you know the café in town. Yes , I still work there. One day a week mate. On Fridays. So usually , I go there every Thursday morning to make sure I still have a job the next day. And to have a coffee. And to annoy them. Because I love them.
‘’ So , ‘chef’ ( it means boss in French he loves it when I call him that) do you need me tomorrow, do I still have a job with you?’’
‘’ Well it’s Winter , it’s quiet I had to drop staff off, ya know’’
Dear God. That’s it. People don’t want me. I’m not good enough for them. Yeah, that’s a sign that I have to go. I really do. I don’t belong here. I’ve got to go. They hate me. It’s the End.
That’s when I heard the Truth…. From the guy who was making my take away soy latte. My friend.
‘’ You are shooting yourself in the foot’’
‘’ With your attitude. You practically ask him to sack you. Don’t ask him if he needs you. Just show up and make him feel he does’’
I don’t know what the most painful was. The truth or hearing the truth from an Italian man. Both.
Then I realized that yes. I do not take responsibility for it. I just want to leave quietly through the back door. Without anyone noticing it. Without anyone noticing that I ever was there. I even want to disappear before I’m actually leaving. I want to convince myself that they don’t need me, that they don't like me anymore.
Me? Guilty of being a traveler? Don’t be silly mate.
Hang on a minute. It sounds familiar. That’s exactly in that frame of mind that I left France. And then England.
The end feels always the same, in the end. I thought it was easier to slip away and ignore all these feelings. But it was never easy. Quite the opposite, Mate.
The next day I showed up to work with a different attitude. Ya know the ‘’ I’m here because I’m worth it’’ sort of attitude. Yes with the make up and the sexy top. Of course.
‘’ You’re doing the dishes today. Keep going’’
Nice. I still love you Gary.
While doing my dishes I decided that it was time to celebrate the journey instead of freaking out anticipating the end.
So for my last French lesson I took Will ( Gary’s son whom I had been teaching French for 4 months) I decided to take him and his parents to the French café in town.
Taking them to the competition was already an achievement in itself but the best achievement was when I heard Will , 13 years old order our food and coffees in FRENCH to a French guy who perfectly understood him and when I saw how proud his mum was, I forgot all about endings and running way. And then I saw the school report. He rocks at french, Mate.
And I even RECIEVED their gratitude with Joy and happiness (aka a black coffee and a French patisserie).
I could face them, my feelings. And it was not that bad. It was quite great actually.
Yes it IS great to feel that you made a difference in people’s lives.For an hour , a day , a year, who care Mate. YOU DID IT.
And It does not matter that I leave them. I made a difference in their lives. Wow.
That’s the first time I ever let people show me how important I have been to them. And it was guilt free (even the fatty patisserie was)
When you think about it , In life, there is no beginning and there is no end. There are just lessons to learn.
But no, Don’t worry. If you don’t get the lesson this time, it will come back. Some other time, somewhere else, with some other people, like a never ending story.
Until you get it.
And Mate, how different your life will be then.