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Raindrops In The Abbey

I stand behind her and we are both completely still. We are trying to minimize our own discomfort on this cold wet day by focusing on the raindrops dancing in the puddles. It’s a welcome distraction. They appear to dip their toes into the muddy water, then jump out as if they’d stepped on hot coals.

It’s taken hundreds of years to get to this point where rain can run unimpeded down the inner walls and weeds can bully their way up through the flagstone floor. Long ago, this now pocked and pitted shell, housed wedding celebrations, internment ceremonies and other historic state and religious events. Today, it can barely hold itself up.  

The girl in the waterproof jacket shivers.

“It has a leaky roof,” she remarks, as if we were considering moving in.

But it’s beautiful nonetheless; a magnificent sculptural installation that only damage, erosion and neglect could create.

Kings and queens have loved and loathed, prayed and fought here over the centuries; and now here we stand, two people from different continents and generations brought together like merging Venn diagrams because of something very special we share in common.

It seems both ordinary and remarkable at the same time.

I watch the rivulets of water streaming down the back of her blue jacket. I pick my winning raindrop but, all too soon it’s lost in the shallow trench that’s formed above the hemline and I have no idea whether I’ve won or lost. Abruptly, she turns her head towards me and water droplets leap from her hood in all directions.

“A cup of tea?” I ask.

She smiles.

My son is very fortunate, I think.

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