Sweet and Sour Love: Blackberry season in BC
Four weeks ago, my friend Eilidh came home from work to find her boyfriend of three years sitting on the front porch smoking a cigarrette, suitcase on the ground beside him. “I can’t do this anymore.” That’s all he said. She tried to ask questions (why? when? how?) but he wouldn’t talk. He was cold as stone. Then he was gone.
To lift my friend’s mood, we decided to take a holiday together. One overpriced flight later, I arrived in BC ready to embark on an upbeat all-girl road trip. Our first stop was a family wedding on Vancouver Island, an event bound to arouse mixed feelings; joy, loss, rage, regret. I was going to be my friend’s “girl-date.” Her buffer. Her drinking buddy. With enough booze, music and prospective cute single boys, this weddding would be a breeze. Much to our horror, the wedding was a dry event with, gulp, no dancing, and lots of married young fellows holding newborn babies in their arms. Damn those sober, fast-breeding Christian types!
Fortunately, Mother Nature stepped in to save us. Mountains, giant trees, sprawling ocean views, wild deers prancing along the roads…the scenery was our entertainment. One afternoon, Eilidh and I took a hike in the woods and were instantly drawn to the lush blackberries growing wild along the path. When picked at their late summer prime, blackberries have a sweetness so distracting all your heartache goes away. Eilidh was particuraly adept at spotting just the right ones and it quickly became a passion. The second you taste a good blackberry, it’s like an addiction. Frantically, hungrily, you pick your way through a few sour berries in search of another mouthwatering hit. It’s a treacherous activity too, since the bushes have thorns and more then once I had to disentangle my sweater from a cluster of mauling branches.
Love’s the same. Finding the right person is no easy task. After endless discussions, we decided Eilidh’s man was sour from the start. She would have to choose better next time. And she was hungry for it. I could tell. While we walked along the beach, she texted an old flame, hoping to start a spark, then bought a new flirty skirt on the high street in Victoria that she said would be “perfect datewear.” She was discarding her rotten blackberry on the compost heap and getting back out into the woods. She was my blackberry-picking superhero/goddess! Resilliant, beautiful, brave, funny, with the sharp eye of an expert huntress, I knew she would succeed.
Meawhile, with all this relationship talk, I couldn’t help but wonder– how long was my love story going to last? Would the sweetness ever go sour?
When I returned home to Montreal a week later, the FC was waiting for me at the front gate as my taxi pulled up. It was early morning and he was just heading to work, wearing his usual rumpled shirt and fresh-from-the-shower slicked down side part. The timing was perfect. We embraced, shyly at first. The electricity, the magic, the reverence for what we had infused every moment. Unable to say goodbye so soon, the FC dropped my bags in front of the house and we walked to the metro together hand in hand, stopping every few steps to embrace. In the station, the FC kept looking back as he stepped onto the escalator down to his train. I waved back from the turnstyles, silly, grinning, already missing him…
It was so very sweet. Like the perfect late summer blackberry.