Friday, June 19, 2009


A rhapsodic commentary, not on France this time, but on friendship. Specifically, right now, the friendship between Christopher and me. We met in 1975 at the Arts Club Theatre in Vancouver and formed an instant bond that has endured ever since, despite cross-country moves, children, illness; I've written about his extraordinary life several times in the Globe. Here in France, people take us for a middle-aged couple. Yesterday, as he bent over, crooning yet again to a small dog in a doorway - "Oh, buddy, look at you, buddy," as the animal rolled over to have his belly stroked - the dog's owner grinned and said, "Il aime bien les chiens, votre mari." He certainly does, and just about everything else besides.

We are a marriage of true minds, Chris and I, brother and sister, family, best friends, one gay and one straight, with a profound bond of trust, love, understanding, respect, tolerance, and laughter. He thinks I can be impatient and driven (which I am sometimes, no, occasionally); I wish sometimes he would stop his silly jokes (which he won't), and that's about as far as our disagreements go.

We did the Enneagram test last night. I'm not a believer in simplistic answers to complex questions but of all the personality tests, I think this one is interesting and thought-provoking. I had thought Chris was "The Enthusiast" but no, he is "The Peacemaker," seeking spiritual connection, dreading separation. It's absolutely right about my adopted friend the Buddhist. And I am, without question, "The Helper." Today, this helper's heart is heavy because her dear friend is leaving tomorrow, going on with his journey and leaving me to mine. I will miss him deeply.

But it will be good for me to be alone again. For the next while, I will spend the days by myself in this beautiful place, to be joined by Denis most evenings. Time to work, write, read, take stock. Also swim, walk in the sun and eat cheese, let's not forget. Chris and I spent the morning working in the huge garden here - well, to tell the truth, he started when he awoke at 5.30 and I joined him at 8, so he did most of the work - but with his massive labours and my lesser ones, the garden here looks mighty fine - weeded, planted, raked, tidied, the soil turned over. Chris speaks to plants too, as well as animals, birds and insects. "Oh, buddy," he says to a wasp struggling in the swimming pool, "let's get you out," and he does.

After Chris leaves, every time I look at the flowers we've just planted, I will hear him loving them. I will feel him loving me, and I will send my love to him. He deserves as much love as the world can give him, because he has never stopped giving the world as much as he can.


  1. What a beautiful post for me to read, Bethy. Friends FOREVER and travel companions AGAIN!!! Love, your husband, Chris!

  2. Yes we do, Steve, nutbar though he is. He found a gourmet shop selling homemade marshmallows today in Roussillon and I thought he was going to pass out with excitement.

    Chrissie, let's get married and then I'll be stepmother to your mystical cat Leon and you'll be stepfather to your wonderful godson and his sister ... well, perhaps it's not such a great deal for you. Leon is quuieter, tidier and less trouble.