On Friday I drove for the first time since my surgery. My husband has been fantastic, chauffeuring me around wherever I needed to go. He’s had to come to the supermarket with me, as the baskets are too heavy for me to carry, and I’m not allowed to push the trolleys (carts for North Americans) for another week or so. He’s taken me down out of the hills so I can walk on the flat. We’ve been to the mall just to get out of the house on rainy days. In fact, in the last five weeks, we’ve pretty much done everything together. We’re even cooking meals together – unheard of in the first 30 years of our marriage! And it’s been fine. But let’s face it, it hasn’t been just the last five weeks. This time last year we had arrived in the Middle East, at the beginning of our five month trip away. We’ve been together almost every day since. Our relationship has survived intact. And we have wonderful memories together. But sometimes I do think there can be such a thing as too much togetherness.
So when a friend texted me to ask if I wanted to drop everything and go to a movie with her, I jumped at the opportunity. (Okay, not literally.) The movie was excellent (Two Faces of January), and took us both back to travels in Athens and Istanbul. We headed off to Zany Zeus for one of her favourite haloumi sandwiches for a late lunch and a chat, and then I drove home.
I headed along the Esplanade in Petone, looking out across the harbour. Matiu/Somes Island glowed green in the sunlight, and the pier out over the calm but cold water was back-lit by the low, wintry afternoon sun. The sunshine, welcome after a week of gloomy and rainy weather, was showing Wellington off at its best. As I drove home along the motorway that snakes around the hills right on the edge of the harbour, along the fault-line next to the railway lines – passing one of the commuter trains that enjoy such a fantastic view every day – a plane flew overhead, coming in to land at the airport. I thought of a blogging friend I have never met. (We were supposed to meet in Italy last year, but our plans didn’t work out). An American who most recently was living in Europe, she was returning to New Zealand, to live in Wellington again, her home of choice. And on this day, her first day back, our city and harbour put on a sparkling Wellington welcome home for her. I smiled. And I’m looking forward to finally meeting her over a Wellington flat white.