Día Doce / Day Twelve

Where to start…

Maybe with: the timely touch of a friend is good for the soul.

The morning was misty and quiet as I left the albergue with my Italian posse. As per usual, we stopped at the first cafe we came across for an espresso and excuse for a rest.

Jess and Janey walked up soon after we settled, and those beautiful women came right up to me. Jess took my face in her hands, quietly said that she had read the last post, and spoke words of comfort and love. I hadn’t realised my pain was still so close to the surface after letting so much out the day before. Right there surrounded by my pilgrim family, she stroked my hair, gently wiped away the tears rolling down my cheeks and embraced my heart as I continued to mourn a friend gone too soon.

We walked on and I found myself comforted by a family I didn’t even know I had just two weeks ago.

The realisation was another bittersweet one, as this same night I had to say goodbye to people I have fallen in love with.

PS. There were six weddings we counted in the plaza. Six. Nothing makes you feel more like a grubby pilgrim than radiant, glowing brides!

In days passed, I have been dubbed ‘La Regina’ – the queen of the Italians. It’s a title I treasure because of my love for each and every one of them, and yet it holds a slight sting as I ponder the likelihood of never seeing some of these faces again in this lifetime.

We dined, we took a hundred pictures, we danced, we sang songs together at 3am and we completely disregarded the need for sleep for the next day’s 32km journey. We prioritised memory making and celebrated our Pack and the time we’ve been so lucky to have had together.

I thank my God for pulling the right strings to lead our paths here, together. I am grateful for this experience, but even more so for the hearts I am/have been privileged to connect with along the Way.

I pray that the imprint I leave on others will always be deep and sweet and cherished.

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