After my resignation, I opted to spend a month or so, wandering through the Southern States of the USA, catching up with you and then heading to New York.
It was clear we had no real future as a couple but I don’t deny, hope still sprung eternal. I thought a week with you in your College town may be the tonic.
I flew into Atlanta, hiring a car for three weeks and then heading across to see you. We planned to spend a long weekend in Charleston but this was aborted after one night of torrential rain, leaving us with six inches of water sloshing round in the RHS of the Mazda.
The Hertz man in Charleston was less than sympathetic when I called him about our flooded car.
“Man, you have six inches of water in your car, I am on the third floor of a building with two levels of cars beneath me and they are all flooded”
“I suggest you get your arse in that car and get the hell out of Charleston, while you still can”
We decided to head to Charlotte; me driving, and you, with your Gatorade bottle scooping water from the floor as we drove.
In many ways, this was the theme of our romantic holiday; drowned in impossibilities!
I saw my first ever Ice Hockey game in Charlotte and I loved it. We drove in muffled silence back to your College, both of us aware, this was probably the last time we would spend together
After this, I headed out alone; down to Augusta where I was summarily shooed from even setting foot on the sacred Magnolia Drive, and then, across to the Appalachians for the most scenic drive I have ever encountered, roaming up Mount Wilson in Fall.
I left Asheville in glorious sunshine after having visited the Thomas Wolfe museum. It had taken me a few minutes in this grand old home, to discover this was a different Tom Wolfe to the “Bonfire of the Vanities” author.
The Fall leaves in the sunshine were stunning , but as I climbed upwards, the exit to each of the beautifully formed tunnels grew progressively darker and by the time I got to the peak of Mount Mitchell, I was in the midst of a blizzard.
I wandered through Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and then down the west coast of Florida and across to Orlando, where I spent a couple of nights reliving past glories at Parliament House.
Sodden car carpets and the Florida heat are not a good mix, I was starting to feel sorry for Hertz when I finally returned a very musty car back to Atlanta, before flying out to New York. Luckily, they did not look too closely.
Thanksgiving in New York is truly something to see, I was lucky enough to have booked a tiny apartment just off Columbus Street in Greenwich Village. This was to be my base for the next ten days, as I explored this extraordinary city.
I spent most of one afternoon, sitting in a gallery at MOMA surrounded by three huge Jackson Pollack canvases, I was in heaven.
Central Park and the Metropolitan became, almost my second home, and I rambled though Chelsea, Soho and Manhattan. Finally with time to gently soak up the feel of this City.
My love for Manet was rekindled in the Metropolitan and once again, I was eternally grateful to Derek and his high school French lessons for introducing me to the wonderful world of the French Impressionists.
I even spent one afternoon, tracking down the gallery which specialised in the art of Robert Kaupelis.
You had been with me, when I had bought a painting of his in Atlanta. The painting will never make me rich, but there is not a day that passes at home, when I don’t stand in front of it, loving the colours and vibrancy, and; remembering the times we spent together before the world got in the way.
There are much worse epitaphs to a failed romance.
Finally, it was time for me to head home and start the new phase of my life, this trip had been the perfect tonic for a man, bedevilled by his past and unsure of his future.