They say you should never return, the memories are never the same as the reality.
Standing at the rusting, paint peeling gates of my former home in La Rochelle, I knew why.
Ours had been a relationship built on dreams. We had stars in our eyes, pie in the sky ideas, rose coloured glasses and every other cliché fired at us, for our inspiration and ideals.
So called friends and rivals queued up to say I told you so. When our world fell apart.
Innovation was the drive behind our success, he invented the dream, I was the marketing mastermind.
We won the rising stars business awards three years in a row.
Built with the profits of our hard work, all consuming hard work, Grande Maison Mon Étoile, and it’s grounds were once reminiscent of Monet’s garden, a delight of blues, purples and pinks.
Now it was more akin to Van Gogh’s dead sunflowers, with it’s tangled mess of mucky browns and dying greens.
I remember how we lay in the moonlight, stargazing. After a day’s work we’d kick off our shoes, take a blanket, a bottle of champagne and two flutes, out on to the lawn.
“A toast,” he’d say, gazing into my eyes, “to my star.”
“No, to My star,” I’d reply.
“To our stars, may they always shine.”
Someone blew our stars out the morning we read the news headlines; ‘Oil stocks not so slick.’
Everything, in that slump, disappeared.
It was inevitable that our marriage fell with it.
I kicked at a piece of twisted metal. Once I’d nudged it free from the brambles I recognised the shape. I looked up at the arch over the gates.
Just as I thought.
No longer ‘My Star’, the ‘oile’ had fallen from the Mon Étoile. How ironic!
They were right, you should never return.