‘Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore’
My mountain retreat was beautiful, austere, remote – at 3,000 feet the air was pine forest pure. But I fell out with the guy who runs the place. I think I reminded him of his dad, whom he obviously can’t stand. After three days I ask myself why I’m having an acrimonious relationship with a total stranger in a foreign language – on my holidays. So I’ve moved into the familiar apartment I rent on the beach near Estepona. The restaurant here is run by Miguel, who comes from an older world of grace and respect – he calls me ‘caballero’ and we give each other good smiles, small kindnesses. The weather is bright and sunny but this creaking body reminds me that old age will not come alone. For the challenge ahead I need to develop more resilience – impatience and discouragement are too close. I would like to make an internal place where I can go, and feel safe – where ‘they’ can’t get me. But I am constantly surprised by how little I know myself – that I am still caught unawares by swoops of anger, fear, tenderness. On ‘Cracker’ last week Fitz is asked by his wife if he still loves her. The big man ponders. "A lot of the time I don’t know," he says, "The only time I’m sure is when something hurts you. I feel rage. Then I know." Some of us only catch our true feelings in glimpses.