My trip to the city could not have gone better. The weather was great on every day but one, and I saw beloved friends, all of whom were in fine form and seemed happy to see me. The only part that was hard on me, was leaving Sheba behind and not seeing Fred and Ethel first thing every morning.
I met Bruce for breakfast on the Thursday morning when I arrived after a nice stroll around my old neighbourhood, and then met Robin for lunch at a favourite restaurant—Banana Leaf. It was great to see them both and to catch up on our various interests. Then I went to VGH and reported my good news: I was experiencing no anxiety whatsoever and speaking without any interruptions at all.
I talked to bus drivers, cab drivers, library clerks, gallery staff, people I passed on my walk, dog owners and restaurant staff. I ordered all my own food and never ever once stuttered. I was 100% normal, so I terminated my outpatient status at VGH and then made my way to West Vancouver to John and Bunny’s house.
I got to their house around 4:30 pm, so we had lots of time to chat before dinner and then going to bed. The dinner, as it always is at their house, was absolutely inspiringly delicious. Bunny is a master chef. We has baked Savoy Cabbage with roasted walnuts, lemon juice, oil and garlic and the best Salmon I’ve ever had and then Lemon custard. Yum. Yum. Yum!
I awoke on Friday to glorious sunshine and a message from Nicola that we could not meet for lunch at Le Crocodile as planned because she was horribly sick. I was sad not to be able to see a dear friend and savor the incredible cuisine of Le Croc, so instead I decided to walk from John and Bunny’s in the heart of West Vancouver to the Vancouver Art Gallery to see the Cindy Sherman show. (It was a fourteen-kilometer walk!)
The Cindy Sherman show was fabulous. Although I am not a fan of her work, I absolutely love that she leaves each image untitled and provides to context; she leaves all the interpretive work to the viewer. She, perhaps over all others, honours us; she assumes we have the intelligence with which to determine our own meaning in her work.
Then it was off to Costin and Marnina’s for another night of fabulous conversation and dining. I stayed with them overnight in their newly renovated townhome and arose to a shared breakfast and more conversation before I bid them adieu to make my way back to West Vancouver to meet Leslie for lunch. And man-oh-man was it wonderful to be with Leslie. We hadn’t seen each other for two years.
After lunch we went for a walk in the sunshine with her Gigi to the local dog park and then I hopped on the bus to Dwight’s. Dwight’s daughter has come out as gay and so we are very close. She is also a writer and actor/singer. So we have a lot in common. And I adore his wife and mother-in-law who lives upstairs, so being with so many friends in one place was incredibly fulfilling. They feel like family to me.
For dinner we went for dinner at a great restaurant on Granville Island (Edible BC) and then I went home to sleep at their house before saying goodbye in the early morning to walk in the sunshine to my breakfast date with Bruce, Maureen and Annabel—all friends from way, way back and out theater days together. Our breakfast was full of energy, talk of Covid19 and old friends. It was wonderful. From there, I got into a cab and went to catch my flight home.
And when I got off the plane home, I raced home to my reunion with Sheba, Fred and Ethel. Boy that felt so, so good! The first thing I did, was take Sheba to the park.
I’m glad to be home, and that’s what Gabriola has become for me after two-and-a-half years. I loved every single second I was in the city, but I still would rather not live there. It is just too loud and busy for me; here in Paradise, I’ve become the person I was born to be. The delicious silence and calm are vital for my soul.
However, I’m more interested than ever in getting rid of my car and getting a van so that I can go to the city with Sheba and the two of us can sleep in the car. It’s what Steve and Béla and I did together for many years. And I’m going to cancel my enrollment in the psychiatric program in Nanaimo because I did, and do, so well now and am entirely symptom-free. I will go if, and when, a relapse occurs, but I’m me again and I want to live free of any aspects of therapy while I can.