Sunday 6th May Last day
We didn’t do much that day. Slept over, gave another laundry to do, wrote a bit of blog, went to buy Magnum ice cream and chocolate at the air-conditioned supermarket. We walked around a bit also.
There was something strange in that city of Maumere, we couldn’t get a good feel of it. While walking close to the market, a man started following us and yelling at us, touching our arms, being aggressive, a bit crazy. We walked faster, ignoring him.
Wherever we would walk, there was this strange feeling of being looked at by people with eyes of jealousy, sneakiness and despise. Many times, some group of young guys launched some “hello mister” to us and laughed, but not the clear honest friendly laugh you meet in most of places, but that laugh making fun of you. What was going wrong in that city? We were not sure, but we didn’t like it, and were really happy to know we were leaving the next day. Maumere was to Moni what Hell is to Heaven, an entire opposite atmosphere, like if a malediction had fallen on it!
In the afternoon, I heared by email that my grandfather was not doing good and was in hospital since 5 days. I wrote a bit back and forth on skype with my little cousin Maxime who had been living with my grandfather, but I could feel he didn’t want to talk about it so we talked about big animals and nature instead. He had been swimming with dolphins and told me how much he had enjoyed it. We chatted about Komodo dragons, he knew a lot about them, and he was interested in the manta rays. My heart was shrinkening, I wanted to be back in France at that minute, I wanted to be there, chat with him, see my grandfather.
In the evening, we went for some dinner in a cheap warung place outside. I ordered some rice and we sat at a table. There was a kid there who was fixing us with mad eyes. Our backs were against some heavy plastic “cover” stopping at hips level. Michael had his camera bag around his shoulders in diagonal, the camera towards the back. I saw that kid discreetly coming from behind and trying to steal or open it. Michael moved his bag away. The kid hit him on his back with his fist and ran away. What was wrong with this city, really? We ate quickly, and came back to the hotel.
Later, I had a phone call from my Mum. That was it. My grandfather was dead. Bam. Take that in your face. I had prepared myself to this eventuality. I had started my trip by spending four days with him in Brittany, reading him his favourite book, chatting with him. Spending my last whole night in France finishing recording the last three chapters for him that were still missing, as there was no way I was leaving for a long journey without finishing that for him first. See…I knew it could happen. He was 90 years old. This is just normal, right? We could even say, lucky me for knowing him for such a long time! Grand-parents…They just die at some point, that’s it. We need to get used to that, to accept it. Apart from my other grandfather who died when I was three, I had already lost my two grand-mothers and my great aunt in the previous three years and some other grand-parents of friends I had met and had a lot of tenderness for had died too and so many of my friends had known the same sadness. And still, still, still…We never ever get used to it, or even get ready for it. When it happens, it is always a surprise. And the person is gone, forever. Forever. And the moment you get told, the moment you realise someone you loved is not of this world anymore, that you will never see that person again, never talk with her again, never listen to her voice, never anything, she is gone, gone, gone, you suddenly look at all those little everyday life problems you were just thinking off with different eyes. They are just futile, you will find a solution to them, or you can still live with them. They are so small, so unimportant. But that person that just died, there is no coming back. It is over. How precious the moments you spent with her, how you always regret to not have spent more, to not have called her more. I am not a phone person, and my grand-father is not an email person. In six months, except for his birthday where I left a message on the recording machine I was transferred to, I never called him. How angry I was with myself that evening, even if you would say I should not and blablabla. You can’t help that feeling of regret. You always feel you could have done more. This emptiness death brings us is hard to stand. What is there after death, uh??? So guys, do me a favour today please, would you? Go and get on that bloody phone and give a ring to your grandma or grandpa to say how much you love them, especially if they are more than 80. Cause you forgot that right, didn’t you? Soon…They will be GONE. Thank you.