Can a moment really change your perspective,or are we doomed to drown in the soup of self righteous ego-mania?
To explain,what if everything you had ever been taught about something,someone ,or some belief,what if you had it proved to be false?Where would that leave you?How would you pick yourself up?
These questions were the mental gymnastics that Alfie grappled with as he broke out on the St Eval road on his coastal walk to his destination ,Bude.It wasn’t as if the concept of cognitive dissonance was new to Alfie,and at his time of life,he valued his mind and the way that he could find his own mental road map through the morass of comtrary opinion and ideas that swept life in general.
As the temperature seemed to be below 5 degrees,and the wind chill was just above 2 degrees which kept him alert if nothing else.He endeavoured to increase his walking speed to counteract the wind chill,and he focused on covering the ground.As I t had been a number of decades since he had last walked along these roads,they seemed timeless to him.There were,of Course,totally Cornish ,narrow and undulating,quite unforgiving in their high hedges,but the wallflowers clustered as they were in the hedges were still there as much as they were in the nineteen seventies.
In fact,he had cycled along these narrow coastal roads with his best friend,John,and he had some good memories of school holidays with him while in Primary school.Those days were a lifeline to him in many ways,as ,on the one hand,his sister Shiela had been extremely ill,and this meant estrangement from her,but ,at the same time,he had grown close to John and he felt a bond with him that he hoped would continue throughout his life.In hindsight ,as he walked along the road towards Treyarnon,if he had known that in a little over a period of three years that John would hav e passed away,then maybe he might not have argued so much with Hambly about such stupid things.You see,John was always trying to impress girls and ,unfortunately always boxing above his weight.As Alfie wasn’t shy about girls,as he had six sisters,it never seemed to be a problem.Hosever,John was an only child,and a very spoilt one at that.However,as Alfie looked back,he still had affection for his childhood friend,and just like a first love,he hadn’t forgotten him at all.Yes,at the time,Alfie knew nothing of childhood illness really,he knew nothing of the complication of diabetes ,of insulin injectionofnthe fits that beset John at certain times.As Alfie had never witnessedthese in Joh ,he chose to think John was a normal boy,but that maybe he should stop pursuing girls so much.Looking back,maybe John knew that he had to live life to the full,maybe he just knew that he wouldn’t live that long .Alfie knew that when it happened,he was beside himself,he was lost,set adrift,a rudderless boat as it were.Just like when Shiela became ill,he had to survive,to live,but he didn’t know how ,and he would have to receive help from others to stabilise his emotional and mental processes.
As Treyarnon Bay ,along with Constantine Bay,was,and maybe now is,the small jewells in the royal coastal crown of the North coast,he decided to stay at a guesthouse in between Treyarnon and St Mirren.While he was aware that he hadn’t pitched his tent on either night of his Odesesy,he wasn’t the type to take risks with the raging wind that was building from the Hayle end of the county.Alfie was far too long in the tooth,and also too much of a realist to become a Martyr.
This small,and very humble guest house with totally original title of Ocean View,would be his lodging for the night.Beside ,the owner seemed to take to tricksy m,ore than him, and that was another story for another day methinks.
As Alfie settled down to sleep,hearing the roar of the Atlantic ,he thought that he could hear two distinct voices,one was of Shiela urging him to believe in himself,to love life and to tall in love,the other being Johns,that reckless young man,but wonderful young boy that he would give so much to have a laugh with again.He cuddled up with Alfie,that well behaved dog who never got onto to the beds,and fell asleep.