9. A day off

I guessed by the look on Colins face that sleep didn’t come easy, if at all, that night and I was in no better condition after just 5 hours sleep. But I was up and ready to help in any way I could. This wasn’t going to be easy for either of us. We went down to the car park to get our luggage. I remember on arrival the lift was a tiny affair with what I thought were two doors on adjacent walls. It seemed odd, that’s all. I told Colin I had no intention of riding anywhere today and we both needed a day off. Both to recover from the shock of events and my arse was killing. He agreed and went about negotiating the continued use of the rooms he had booked. We unloaded the bikes in relative silence and made our way back to the lift. The doors closed and we both looked at each other sighing as we knew this wouldn’t be a good day. “I need to get flowers mate to put at the scene”. I on the other hand needed to see where this had happened. The previous night on my journey up I had been haunted by maybe coming across the scene in the dark and having some kind of mishap myself. I don’t do flowers at the roadside, I always think that I would have other options like a favourite place that we had in common where I could remember them better. But I didn’t have one for Raven. I had only known her for 5 days and the only place we had in common was 717 miles away.   Colin leant back against the side of the lift, only it wasn’t the wall and the doors had opened. Stood outside was the staff member who had placed a heavy crate at the door entrance. Colin went back in almost slow motion. He stepped back to stop the fall but his foot struck the crate and he went down on his back. His bad back that had plagued him for the past few days. Still holding his luggage he could do nothing to stop the fall. He lay there momentarily, not nearly long enough to assess any damage, instead out of shock or embarrassment, he got straight up. I helped lift his baggage. The staff members was so apologetic and I think all three of us just wanted the whole thing to end. We went to the restaurant for breakfast and were shortly joined by the owner’s husband, a nice guy who had been supportive the previous day. Between us we could sign and pigeon English a conversation. He was glad that the Police had been good with Colin and that all the services had done what they could for Raven. We walked into Caspe town centre and I found a hardware store, using Google translate the manager understood that I wanted flowers and he drew a map for us. Again we walked in relative silence on the approach to the shop Colin stopped to take a phone call from Ravens husband. Colin had broken the news the previous day and I realised this would be the one of many difficult calls for him, nothing for me to do but carry on to the shop. I was there for him if he needed me. Again Google translate came to the fore helping explain what I wanted. A selection of flowers were shown to me and I chose a simple pink rose and two lilies with some flora to back them. I asked for ribbon and the lady produced tiny thin ribbon. I made the gesture for bigger and she produced a quite wide ribbon, well enormous really but it was clear that was the option. She asked if I wanted words. I chose to write a few on a till roll for her to copy. It’s not easy choosing words for remembrance, especially after such a short time of knowing the person. There was no doubt Raven was an amazing person and she had lit up my life for those few days. We had immediately become good friends with similar sense of humour and being of similar age we appreciated many of the same things. Plus she was a girl with three bikes, what wasn’t to like about the woman. She went to the back of the shop and I waited, I waited for quite some time. I called to her in my best Spanish and explained I needed to go for a few minutes but I would be back with Colin who also wanted flowers. I found Colin still sat where he had answered the call, he was still talking, his shoulders slumped and a pained expression. I could only be there for him I couldn’t deal with his pain or Ravens family, unless they expressly asked. The call ended and we spoke briefly, it was nothing more than we had already said but reinforcing support and friendship for a guy struggling with the horrific events of yesterday and its impact on today and the future. We went to the florist and Colin ordered a similar bouquet. He wrote the words he wanted and we waited and waited and waited. The flowers were on the counter, what could possibly have taken so long. When the assistant reappeared it was obvious what had taken the time. The large ribbon had equally large gold lettering on it with our messages on them. Each letter was a sticker lovingly placed and spaced by the assistant who spoke no English. It must have been a very difficult thing to do, bearing in mind any error would mean the whole thing would go in the bin and she would have to start again. We paid our money and with thanks for their help made our way back to the hotel. There was no point in taking the flowers out in the baking heat so we decided to get some sleep and go out at about 5pm. I slept a little but was up at 3pm sipping water in the shaded front of the hotel when Colin text. We met up and sat under the cover trying to make conversation without getting upset. I told the story of my ride the night before and realised I would need fuel as soon as we could. We went back to our rooms. I showered and put on a fresh shirt and trousers. We met I the car park. I opened the tank and shook the bike there was no fuel in there. I suspect what little remained had been evaporated as the engine cooled the previous night. We siphoned two litres from Colins and went to fill up. Then we rode the few miles from Caspe to the scene of the accident. Molli was play in up, now you and I both know that the fuel had run out and whatever crud lay at the bottom of the tank had now been sucked into the carb making her run rough, but it just seemed that Molli didn’t want to go to where Erik (Ravens BMW) had probably ended his motorcycling days. We approached down the hill to the simple right hand curve in the road and it was obvious what had happened. Just prior to the corner the road had a nasty dip at the point where motorcyclist start to turn in. Hidden from view it catches you out. I had been prepared and we had slowed ready to stop but I could see how this would unsettle a bike. Straight ahead I could see where Erik had impacted the barrier. We placed the flowers and in silence thought our own thoughts, said our own prayers. Colin told me more and I listened intently. We rode back to the hotel and sat at the bar our glasses touched but nothing was said, we knew what we meant. Then out of nowhere I began to laugh, laugh to the point tears ran down my face. I had sent a tweet about Colins fall in the lift and tagged it as comedy gold. Colin looked bemused, “you know who would have laughed at your fall in the lift?” We both laughed and the silence was broken. We were going to leave early the next day and it wasn’t going to be an easy day either so we packed up and before I knew it it was 9.30pm. My call was for pizza and there was a restaurant just across from the hotel. I scoffed a large pepperoni in next to no time and Colin struggled with his Hawaiian. He clearly doesn’t know me as the pizza monster I am and he really doesn’t know that cold pizza the following day is my absolute favourite. I made him box up the rest so we could have it the next day. Caspe was a lovely town and makes its money from the fishing. Apparently the lake homes some of the biggest fish anywhere in Europe. The town itself is a picturesque hilltop affair which looks stunning against the setting sun. I liked Caspe despite having been there under awful circumstances. Tomorrow we would ride through Andorra and on to the Millau Viaduct in France.

Author: benjackson63

A new adventure biker just starting out on my blogging adventures.

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