He stood in the cold outside his former life and home and discovered the reality of what it is to be an exile. To see a world continue, but no longer be a part of it. With all that gone, he knew that he could not just knock on the door. Say he was “only passing” and “Could he have a cup of tea”, Standing there, looking at the small front lawn, he remembered planting it about twelve years before, and even recalling, cruel as the memory now seemed, his wife Ruth coming out to him with tea and with a young Amy, then just two years ,old clinging to her dress. The very picture of an ordered family, now decimated by his lack of will, destroyed by a temptation unimagined in those sweet early years: what had he done?
There were no tears, but only a deepening sadness and that sense of isolation, until at last, he turned on his heel, and set off back to his new lodgings. For now at least, he would find no comfort here, and he must do his best to build a life out of the ruins he created. There is a phrase, largely in disuse, but somehow it surfaced in his mind. He had become ‘Beyond the pale’ whatever that might mean, and climbing back out of it was a journey he had difficulty to contemplating.
The adverts say there is always sunshine, but there is not always sunshine. We feel there must be hope but, for some, there is not always hope, and the world without it is a dark and exposing place. Giles walked his walk more alone in mind and spirit than he had ever been. The wilderness rose up around him, as if by some strange magic, and grappled at his limbs with merciless stamina. There seemed no destination left with purpose. The journey home, or whatever that place was called, was one of instinct rather than direction. Free of strategy, and without any emotional bearings he moved because he had no other choice. It was the last thing he had left, and he would just keep moving and praying, because that was all there was, apart from his engrossing solitude.