Hotel de la Baie des Trépassés: Part One. (From the novel Sesame Seed).

by | Jul 8, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

In celebration of my beautiful inspiration, her weekend and the weeks ahead, I publish two excerpts from the novel. Have a great summer Princess!

I slowed the Subaru down to a snail’s pace but she retained that pose, lying in the back seat, until we reached the Hotel de la Baie des Trépassés. The mist still hung like a dank shroud over the landscape. I parked the Subaru in front of the strange white building that resembled a cross between a Swiss ski lodge and a Scottish highland retreat. When I opened the door the chill of the mist enveloped me and I shivered involuntarily. “Fucking Hell its freezing! SHUT THE DOOR!” she screamed. Coming to life like a vampire from the grave, she sat bolt upright, golden tresses plastered to her pale, alabaster face. She flopped back down as quickly as she’d risen, hitting her head on the seat belt catch. The scream was ear splitting and several gulls that were lazily waddling across the car park took off in startled fright. Opting for the, by now, safe choice, I gently closed the door and approached the hotel to check in.

As I walked across the cold, damp car park, I knew in my heart that this was not going to be like London or the ferry crossing. Leaving the girl alone was not going to be an option without the distractions of the likes of St Malo or Rouen to bring her round. Climbing the concrete steps to the reception, I hatched a plan. She would probably sleep in the car for a half hour or so which would give me time to get the rooms ready and unpack. The manager was a typical Breton, red faced with a walrus moustache that covered his entire mouth. This made it difficult, along with his local dialect, to understand him. It was very much like a foreigner talking to a Cornishman. Eventually, we managed to sort things out, including the separate rooms and my companions date of birth; something that set the old man stroking the pride and joy of his upper lip like a pet dog. He continually looked over my shoulder, trying to get a glimpse of “la jeune mademoiselle” , emphasis on the “jeune.”

“Elle dort dans la voiture. Elle est tres fatigue apres une longue journnee” I explained to the manager about our day and my companion’s tiredness, omitting the obvious. He muttered something from under his giant face furniture shrugged and handed me the room keys. I retrieved the luggage quietly from the boot of the Subaru, for as I anticipated she was sleeping like a baby. Both of her cases weighed as much as she did which meant three journeys, one each for them and one with her. After unloading, I returned to the car, slipped into the driver’s seat and waited. In the twenty minutes it took for her to come round, several cars entered the car park, early diners dressed for the evening. They all took great interest in the strange couple in the bright blue English sports car, him in the front and her curled up in the back. I was treated to the full complement of bodily and facial gestures that this expressive Gallic race could muster.

“Come on Princess, let’s get you into the warm”, I coaxed as she opened those large black eyes like a baby lemur, blinking at the early evening light. The sun was setting over the Atlantic, the opposite to our east coast existence. I gently brushed the damp golden threads from her face and was stunned at the sight before me. Those eyes drew me in like the sky on a clear winter night. The two black slashes above her eyes were slanted upwards in an arch of sadness and her exquisite nose was ever so slightly wrinkled as if she was about to sneeze. The bottom lip of her small mouth jutted out like a child whose ice cream had just fallen to the pavement. All together, these features framed by those gilt locks, combined to create an image that not even the greatest artist could replicate and, for that split second, it was all mine. Recovering my composure, I carefully lifted her 40kg frame out of the car and carried her inside.

Floodlit by the giant picture windows of the “Restaurant de la Baie des Trepasses”, we were the evening’s entertainment as the entire restaurant turned to stare at the old Anglais and his young companion draped in his arms. The Gallic gestures were on overtime, dinner was going to be interesting, if we ever made it. Laying her on the bed I pulled the duvet over her tiny body and pulled a white envelope with a floral pattern from my back pocket. I carefully placed it between her palms on which her head was resting in the traditional sleep pose. I then tiptoed out of the room and went to mine for a desperately needed shower. The envelope contained a letter I had written a few days earlier for just such an occasion. I knew that some episodes would be worse than others but had learned to cope with these situations from living with the same condition in my late wife. Unfortunately, with her, the condition had not been diagnosed until five years before her death. With my young friend, I was determined that this monster would be eradicated before her 31st birthday. The letter read:-

My Dearest Sesame Seed,

Today is seven months since you came into my life like a tsunami filling the void that had been there so long. Seven months, many letters, lots of messages, hundreds of beautiful pictures and a lovely voice.

I cant believe where the time has gone which puts me in mind of before and after you appeared. I compare the two periods to a marathon and a sprint. Before was like running a marathon. Every part of my body hurt. My calves burned, my feet were sore, my throat seared, my mouth was dry and my head ached.

Time passed slowly like dragging my hand through the black slimy mud of a stagnant pond. Opening my fingers to let the oily sulpherous mass pour through them. Only it didn’t, it stayed there in my palm like a horrible inedible jelly, refusing to move.

Every second lasted a lifetime, lengthened by being filled with nothing. All I wanted to do was reach the finishing tape and it would all be over.

Then you came along and the streets I had been pounding relentlessly turned into one short green strip. I was in a sprint. The black cloyinging mud was replaced by fine, dry running sand that poured through my fingers too fast. The days became hours, the hours minutes and the minutes seconds. I was savouring every second but it was going too quickly.

Why had I spent so much of my life running a pointless marathon?

I panic when another day is over that you have been in my life. Another day that I will not see again. I no longer wish for the finishing tape, I want those six narrow lanes to go on forever.

My life is far better now, I have a purpose, you.

I am so happy but I am also in conflict. Fighting the urge to want more with you, to live, laugh and love with you. The joy that you exist is tempered with the sadness that, in reality, you are only on loan and soon your tenet will end. Every day something happens and I say, “I must tell her”. Then reality kicks in and I write you a few meaningless words, like these.

I love my little seaside town with its bars and cafés where I sit and have a beer or a coffee and think and write. I would love it more if you were there sharing it. However, France is full of beautiful places to visit in a summer and remember, we’re on a mission!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Receive an email notification for new posts