We set out late this morning after a long breakfast with my Brother and the Magician. The walk out of Agés was along a road with few and far between cars. I walked in sight of the Magician, but alone for a large part of the morning. It was going to be my 35th Birthday in a couple of days. I was nervous, my last birthday had been a disaster. My ex and I had a birthday tradition which involved being sung happy birthday in the morning and served cake in bed. Well he’d decided that it didn’t seem important anymore as I’d been busy with my new job. He realised this was a mistake after I’d gotten very upset. Reliving these memories, knowing that I was away from all my family and friends, and I was half way to 70. What had I really achieved in my life? I was going to be 35, no job, no house, no kids. Well I was trying to put on a happy front, but I was feeling very isolated from the life I’d had a year ago. I was mourning it, but at the same time starting to realised when, for me I started to feel like my marriage was beginning to fall apart. There were two sides to this coin. And one was being in a loveless marriage, the other, facing the complete unknown and starting again.
Today we were walking to Burgos, where they have 800,000 year old remains of the first ‘European’ and is an example of the species that existed before Homo Sapiens and the Neanderthal man. This was found in Atapuerca, just after Agés. Cave painting were also found in the area. I did debate visiting the actual site here in Atapuerca, before going onto Burgos, but the town itself seems pretty deserted…. But the site itself has been declared a UNESCO site.
After leaving the road, the Camino took us up a yellow stoned path. The Magician and I continued to walk separately up a rocky hill together. Keeping each other in sight all the time, to make sure the other was safe. This is when I noticed something about the Magician, that was completely different to my ex. When I walked with my ex, I would wonder if he actually noticed when I walked separately to him. I’d watch him walk away, not noticing or (as I viewed it) care that I wasn’t with him. The Magician would walk ahead of me, but turn around and stop, waiting for me. The only time he didn’t, was when we’d agreed to walk separately for a while. I know in the back of my mind I shouldn’t compare the Magician to my ex. But I’d been with my ex for 13 years. It was hard not to put any comparisons between the two. And it felt so strange, so bizarre, there was this man here who cared where I was. He wanted to make sure I was safe. Its was weird…. Someone caring about me, after I’d spent so many years cultivating my independence. At the top of the giant hill there was a cross at the top, with a barbed wire fence next to it. Its quite a strange sight, signs of entrapment, against a Christian symbol of freedom from your sins.
When we got over the top of the hill, we could see Burgos in the distance. It was here the Magician and I agreed to walk separately to each other. I walked out ahead of him, down the slow slopping hill in yellow dusty tracks. Walking further and further down the hill I started to realise I really needed to pee. The hills around me were bare, there was no where I could hide to go to the toilet…. My bladder started to get more and more uncomfortable. I started having to walk faster and faster. This was starting to get more and more urgent when I got to long tarmac roads. I could see from the distance I wasn’t going to get to Burgos for another few kilometres. I literally started thinking about what would the biological problem be if my bladder burst… imaging little clumps of my body lying out on the road for the Magician to find. Either that, or I’d wet myself soon. I then started trying to think about other things… This lasted for about 5 seconds each time. Then I started remembering an episode of the Simpsons with Homer running through flushing meadows. Damn cruel memory. Well, thank the lords, but I then found a sign for a restaurant in a small suburb just outside Burgos. So I ran round the small streets trying to find the café. I walked in nonchalantly manner and begged for the key (trying to not bounce on the spot like a small child). Here the Magician caught up with me and we began the horrible long walk into Burgos was along concrete roads. This made me dread Burgos, as if it was this horrible outside, what would the city itself be like?
We eventually got to the Municipal in Burgos where we met a beautiful young French girl, whom I’m going to call Little Sister going forward. She reminded me of myself, when I was younger, and wasn’t so scared from heart break. We spent the evening all going out for famous tapas together. This night we were saying goodbye to a good friend on the walk as she was going back to Barcelona to study. My Brother and her had become very attached to each other. The evening was filled with talk of love. Eventually we managed to get out of my Little Sister that she’d met a Texan, that she instantly connected with. She said she didn’t understand how anyone could be that perfect. We were trying to convince her to take a rest day with us. But she’d suddenly found out he was waiting for her further up the trail. It was beautiful, you could see something special was beginning. It was in the way her eyes twinkled. After a wonderful night filled with laughter and love, we stumbled back to the municipal. I realised I was still in the beginning of my own love story with the Magician. My past was my past, it was time to let my ex’s ghost go, forever. And to be in the present with my Magician, with his twinkly star-lit blue eyes.