There is no prescribed thing that you must do before you go on an Ordination Course. Some folks turn travelling to the Spanish mountains into an rambling epic journey across Europe. I chose to revisit all the places I'd ever lived or worked throughout my life up until the year 2000. David chose to spend five days with me in Brighton. In many ways this was an opportunity for both of us to escape, myself from a job I was eager to step down from ASAP, and David the anxiety inducing bardo of waiting for that day of departure. Why Brighton? Well not particularly because its the gay capital of the English south coast. David visits there regularly as part of his work, and had a number of places he wanted to take me to. Most, but not all, involved food in some way. Weather wise the days were bright blue skies, sunny, with a chill driving wind you felt if you ventured into the shade, or stayed out past sunset. Only one day of our mini break was foggy, grey and very cold, which for early April was fortunate. So there was a lot of walking, relaxing, sunning ourselves, shopping and idle chatting. I think it was an ideal place for both of us.
Arriving back David suddenly felt the enormity of what he was about to set out to do in only a day and a half. Myself? well I began to feel sad at the sense of a forthcoming aloneness. There were a few things David needed to get Monday morning, and I needed to buy some acrylic paints. So we went for our last coffee and muffin in the Cafe Nero at the back of Heffers bookshop. The chunky Italian barista who knows our requirements off by heart, was surprised to see us midweek. David's calmness began to crumble as the day went on, and by the evening when the packing began in earnest, he was sweating profusely and had an air of flustered panic. It was quite a difficult state to be around and not find yourself getting anxious too. Once the rucksack was tightly stuffed almost beyond being zipped up, David sort of calmed down. Now all we had to do was wait for the time for the taxi to arrive. We went to bed early, he sleeped, I didn't. I never can relax when I'm aware of an imminent event. So at quarter past two the alarm went off. The taxi arrived a little before 3.30am. David turned to me and said 'this is either the most wonderful important thing I'll ever do with my life, or the most stupid' In nightshirt and dressing gown I followed him downstairs to the lobby, kisses, hugs, parting, a kiss, and he walked out to the cab. I couldn't see if he was waving as the taxi drove off, but I was.
I'm writing this three days later, and the Ordination course will have set itself up, and will be well into its stride by now. I feel a bit of a time lag, in myself. I'm only just getting my head around David's absence, and what I'm going to do with myself whilst he's away. There has been work, forcing myself to adjust and get used to it once more. This week my replacement as Manager was chosen, a person from my current team. I've been asked to stay until a replacement is found for her, which may not be till the end of May. I'm sitting rather uneasily with the nature of this exit strategy, it's getting rather too prolonged and drawn out for me. But at least I know what I'm doing next, helping with painting jobs in the Property Team over the Summer, and in the warehouse over the Christmas period. For which I can't wait, but will have to.