We went to Lille for the weekend. It was a belated birthday present from Toby, and the city was lovely. Lots of little boutiques and cobbled streets and places to eat oysters.
But nothing really changes, even when you're eating fresh seafood. In fact, we had time to ourselves to reflect, and it was sad.
After checking in to our hotel, we walked to the main square for a spot of lunch. We ate at one of those classic French cafes where the majority of the seating is outside. It was warm, and we ordered our food.
For not particular reason, we got straight on to Bear. How he should have been there too. How we're fed up of just being a couple. How... and then these little boys, two gorgeous brothers, came over to our table and started giggling and trying to become our friends. One could only have been 18 months old, the other maybe 3. We tried to smile and wave and still talk, but it became an impossible, and painful distraction.
Can't you just go away, I thought. Please leave us alone with our thoughts. But they didn't understand. They were playing games now, and I was forced to interact. It was like cruelty against the afflicted.
As it turns out, Lille is a baby town. Apparently, fifty per cent of the population is under forty, which means lots of buggies. Hundreds of them.
This, coupled with our usual weekend lull, where we sit and look into the middle distance, and both imagine how much nicer it would be if Bear was gurgling next to us, meant the two days away were really quite heavy.
We walked a lot, and looked at the decorative architecture, but we didn't have the heads for the art gallery, even though we made it to the front desk, and were about to pay the entrance fee.
On Saturday night we stayed up late and talked in bed. It was good to have time together, uninterrupted space that was removed from reality. If only, we didn't have to escape like this...