Losing the lagomorph was hard on us.
We have both been experiencing separation anxiety in one form or another since it happened. I recall that the following weekend in Tangier it was hard for me to remain calm when K got up from the table to visit the bathroom in the restaurant where we encountered chicken cake. I had been myself and knew that the stairs were steep and I was sure that she would hurt herself.
K survived her bathroom visit and returned to the table in good health but I wouldn’t want to go through that again. We still swap multiple emails every day while she is in Gibraltar at work, many more than practicality would suggest was necessary. Both of us pass the grave on our respective commutes and it is important to us to say hi. It’s medicine and good for us but of course it tastes foul.
As hopeful and brave as I feel we’ve been this last little while we aren’t free of the stain of sadness and as the days following our small tragedy have turned to weeks and months there have been any number of little reminders, bitter mnemonic jolts; the mournful percussion of a bond not yet finished reverberating in the memory.
I don’t suppose it’s coincidence either that I have begun talking to portable radiators, and occasionally patting a dehumidifier on its “head”.
None of these anxiety driven behaviours though bear any comparison with that mother of all irrationalities – our attachment to Molly. Molly, it has seemed at times, is all that we have left of our little proto-family and would undoubtedly bear the burden of our hopes and dreams alone now, along with the full brunt of our needy love, if it wasn’t for the fact that she is a Fiat Seicento.
Shaky ground, the application of love to a miniscule 900cc combustion engine with wheels and a sun roof, but there haven’t been a lot of options so Molly it has been. I consider her responsible for getting K safely back to me – the two of them made their way across England and then the entire length of Spain – north to south – together, laden down with too many household items and too much weight.
They made it though.
Impatience and worry drove me (by bus) to Cadiz on the day they were due to arrive. It would bring forward our reunion by an hour or two and mean that I could escort them into Tarifa and at least alleviate that last task of finding their way around the little town after their long journey.
The reunion; it didn’t sooth my nerves one little bit that around the time K was to arrive in the city there was a serious car crash just outside the cafe I was waiting in. I rushed out and there was a wrecked car lodged in a bus shelter and another across the street blocking traffic. The pavement was bedlam, strewn with people – cut and bruised though thankfully still alive – in shock. Old ladies had sat down on shopfront steps in tears and were being consoled.
I repeat – nerves not soothed. The fact that there hadn’t been any casualties helped me feel slightly less callous that my only concern had been whether K was involved or not.
She wasn’t. A few minutes later I got the text; she had parked down the street and was waiting for me. When I spotted her my pace quickened involuntarily and then I broke into a run till we were holding each other. It was like one of those slow motion scenes. Very romantic. Video footage not available, but it would have brought a tear to your eye. Here she was – months of separation had come to an end. And here was Molly, our little heroine, who had brought her here.
After a bite to eat and a chance for K to catch her breath we got into the car and headed for Tarifa. It had been a tense journey for K – alone in a country she didn’t know, a country with vast empty spaces and as soon as we set off the obsessive compulsive depths to which the long drive had reduced her became evident. As we left Cadiz, the “city that always smiles”, she appeared to be coordinating some impossibly complex interrelation between the steering wheel, the sat nav, and the air blower in way that I can only describe as mentally ill.
She had apparently been doing this for the previous six hundred kilometres, obsessively checking and adjusting the air based on advice from her father that it would help keep the engine cool to have the interior heating on, and counting down the kilometres one by one.
They made it though.
We made it. Molly is our miracle. She cost us just about nothing, she has given us no trouble despite being twelve years old, and she isn’t finished yet. Since the long cross country drive she has taken us to Granada, Cordoba, Cadiz, Sevilla, Malaga, Marbella, Vejer, Jerez…how’s that for 900cc?
She may not be human but she has exhibited that most noble of human qualities – loyalty.
Now we have another anxiety to deal with – it is time for Molly’s health check. In Spain they call it the ITV, in Ireland the NCT, in Britain the MOT. Whatever you call it it can mean a clean bill of health or it can mean game over, and we’re a little worried that Molly’s exam passing days are behind her. Come on, Molly. We’re not in the best shape to withstand yet another loss. And what I wonder would be the next inanimate object my psychologically flawed affections could settle on if we didn’t have you any more?