Ellie's had me running in circles this morning, trying to find the perfect set of luggage for our weekend away. I keep telling people she's bossy, and everyone just laughs, knowing I'm right and finding it utterly hilarious because it's not them on the receiving end if she's focused on me.
For instance, the last time she insisted we go away for my birthday: to Paris, she said, the most romantic city in Europe. Nonsense, I told her. That's Venice, surely? She disagreed, which - I discovered when she vomited into the Seine - had far more to do with her landlubber status than the magic of the city itself.
So off we went to Paris, and visited the museums, and galleries... The Louvre - a compulsory destination - was all I had imagined it to be, which is to say it was full of tourists, although I had not anticipated it would be so vast, and even I had to admit the sculptures were magnificent. The Mona Lisa commands her daily audience, all of whom were far taller than Ellie and me, so we walked on by.
Of course, we also visited the Musée Dupuytren - a collection of preserved specimens of anatomical intrigue. The museum has since closed, the exhibits moved elsewhere. They make for grim viewing indeed. However, to have seen Leborgne's brain, the organ that arguably revolutionised my own academic discipline... It were as if Broca conversed with us through the aeons. Such irony, but that is Paris all over.
We seemed to eat and drink constantly and - to do this day I know not how - we ascended the Eiffel Tower. I recall, hazily, a shot or two of Absinthe was involved. What I do not recall so well is how we later descended nor how we made safe passage back to our hotel, over the Pont des Arts, the bridge that would be famed for almost collapsing under the weight of the lovers' locks affixed to it.
There were no locks at all when we visited, nor did it occur to either of us that we should leave one there. And yet, it was on that very bridge I shared with Ellie the story of Most Ljubavi - what is believed to be the original Bridge of Love - in Serbia, where a young woman's fiancé had proposed to her and then left her. The padlocks left there by other women were the hopes that their fate would not be as hers.
Perhaps, in light of Ellie's then-recent divorce, it was not the best story for me to tell, but she does insist on taking me to these places. For what purpose, I cannot say.
And so, it is time once again to leave behind these familiar four walls and 'enjoy' another slice of the Big Wide World. She has allowed me to pick our destination this year, thus, to the Freud Museum we shall go. I fear she will not like it in the least, and may deter her from ever travelling with me again.
Which would be a crying shame.
© 2017 Debbie McGowan