We arrived at noon on Saturday, we drove and took the ferry and after more hours than I care to count, I was more than ready for a shower and an afternoon snooze on a sun lounger. Marcus’ Mother had other ideas though. ‘Hannah, darling, we’re going to pop into town to get some food for dinner, are you coming?’ There’s something about the way she asks you a question. It’s never a request but rather a polite expectation. I plastered on a smile; ‘sure, i’ll just freshen up and meet you out the front’
As we wandered through a quaint and quiet town I couldn’t pronounce the name of, I shook off the frustrations of the early morning start and the long, painful journey and tried to appreciate my surroundings. Beautiful little food stalls full to the brim with delicacies, tiny cafes with locals milling around outside, enjoying coffee and conversation with friends. Marcus intermittently entwined his fingers with mine as we dawdled behind his Parents, his sister and his grandmother, occasionally letting go of my hand as he distractedly pointed out shops or restaurants he remembered from his last visit and even more occasionally kissing me on the cheek or the hand when he remembered I existed. I wasn’t annoyed, I enjoyed watching him reminisce animatedly about his young summers spent in France, just not as much as I enjoyed finding him amongst the sheets of our bed as I drifted in and out of sleep. A much preferred activity right now.
This week was supposed to be a romantic getaway following an arduous few months fighting what felt like a losing battle in court for my client. ‘Let’s get away to the Farmhouse for a few days, you need the rest and I’ve missed you’ Marcus said one evening last week over dinner. It was true, it had felt like an eternity since i’d last seen him. Despite living together, when I was working on a case everything else tended to become invisible. Not something i’m proud of but certainly something that’s helped my career. The idea of four or five days of peace, quiet and uninterrupted pleasure sounded exquisite so I didn’t hesitate to even think about it. I should have known it would be too good to be true. ‘Oh we haven’t been to the Farmhouse in months Marcus, your Father and I would love to join you’, Delilah, Marcus’ Mother declared a couple of evenings before we left, without having been invited. ‘Oh mum, I was actually just…’, ‘Perhaps your Grandmother would like to join us, she could do with some sun on her old bones.’ And that was that. The night before we left Jenny, Marcus’ sister invited herself and the following day we were all driving to France. One big happy family.
Returning to the Farmhouse felt like genuine relief. I politely excused myself from family conversation and spent a long and delirious 20 minutes soaking under steaming hot water in the newly fitted, state of the art shower room. I admit, I stayed an extra 10 minutes in the hope that Marcus might take the initiative but I could hear him roaring with laughter downstairs so I didn’t waste too much time on the thought. Instead, I climbed into fresh white sheets and smiled indulgently as I sprawled out across the Queen size bed and watched as the sheer floor length curtains waved in the breeze from the open doors to the balcony. I closed my eyes after a minute or two, listening to the muffled voices of my in-laws and drifted off. Tomorrow’s another day.