(18) Heart or Head
Updated: Apr 10, 2020
We have reached a place in the scheme of things where it is comfortable to all spend time together, Katrina, Ian, Isabelle and I. We can make jokes, laugh. We can venture from skirting around the outside, even, of serious issues, like love and death and sex (That was a discernible Ew! from the teenager). Some might think that Ian's love for me must have been weak that he can see us both like this and not rile, not be heartbroken still. I know the opposite is the truth. It takes a strong person and a strong love to arrive at this place.
While walking with Katrina a couple of weeks ago when we were up in Applecross, we had a poignant chat. Among other topics (including her current, rather beautiful eulogy for Ian) she expressed her thoughts that we are all able to spend this easy time together because Ian is a kind person. She went on to say that Isabelle and I are also pretty special and that it takes all of our characters working well with each other to have this outcome. Another Is could be jealous of my relationship with Ian; Alternative 'I' could be funny about the two of them talking together without me (they went and took a load of wood off the hill); and it goes without saying that Parallel Ian might hate seeing us at all.
In the evening, different friends and family phoned Ian with condolences, and it was nice to hear him talk about the fact that Is and I were in the kitchen cooking dinner. After speaking to his brother, Ian told Is that she was welcome to come to his mum's funeral the following week. That was unexpected. Isabelle had not known Margaret. But we decided that yes, she would come. Isabelle cares about all three of us. Katrina later said to me that if Isabelle was worried about what other people might think, that she (Katrina) would tell them exactly what she thought of them and declare that we were all people she loved and we should all be there. Isabelle are you listening? That was Katrina saying she loves you.
Katrina did not have to tell anybody what she thought of them. Nobody seemed to think it odd that Isabelle was at Margaret's funeral. I suppose if Ian can show that he is comfortable with us (we gave him a lift to the crematorium and to the hotel, and afterwards to Linlithgow), then they too can be. And they were. It seemed quite natural that Is was there. An old friend of Ian's spent much time chatting to us both and then invited us to visit him in Edinburgh. Ian's cousin chatted warmly with us for a while. All comfortable. Kind.
So, here is the head and heart thing. Katrina asked during that walk why could we not move back to Applecross now? It is a slightly baffling coincidence that Ian and I had already discussed that question earlier that morning and he hadn't spoken of it to her. I had been helping him to unload a trailer of wood for a customer (he had hurt his back). Margaret on our minds, I expressed the wish to ultimately die in Applecross (at the age of 97). This is an enduring wish from a long ago time. I would like to die in a place that is HOME for me. I would like there to be a community who will say 'I knew her' and 'That is sad. Trump never heard her song.'
Ian's reply was, 'Why just die here? Why not live here? I will do whatever I can to help you both settle here.'
I have thought of nothing else since then. I have spent nights awake smiling at the possibility that we could actually go back and live there. But it is not up to just me to decide. There is Isabelle to consider. And there are others who might not welcome us back, might find it too hurtful. We will have less money for sure. There is the whole thing with the gossip. That has not gone away (although the main protagonists in my story have). I actually have the beginnings of another piano tune entitled Tittle-Tattle..... It rains there so much more than it rains here and you can never get on a train without a 45 minute car ride first. There is not an adequately stocked grocery shop. The midges are four times the size (it seems) and twenty times more aggressive than they are on the East. And I cannot undo the fact that we hurt people very badly.
But my girl is there. MY GIRL IS THERE. Ian is there. Friends are there. And it is Applecross. I have been pining since we left.
I am thinking of W.B. Yeats' words in The Lake Isle Of Innisfree. Katrina recited it at Margaret's funeral. They seem apposite. 'I will arise and go now, for always night and day I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey, I hear it in the deep heart’s core.'
My heart says Go tomorrow. My head says Follow your heart.
My heart has started to sing at the possibility.