Ripped from this World : "I Don't Want to Go" She screamed and cried in pain at Cardiff Castle

Tick tock, tick tock. As the clock counted down, and the window onto this world began to close, we awoke in Cardiff ready for the last day of our lives abroad to walk among the fields of daffodils, eat Welsh cakes and Clark's Pies. For as far as I was concerned, this was my last day on planet earth. We were now less than 24 hours till we boarded an aircraft to the States, and I prayed and hoped for a miracle, anything to happen that would say this is reality and everything else was just a dream. A sign like a volcano going off in Iceland and grounding air traffic or something! But that's not very likely is it? No it was apparent that reality was setting back in; but, for one last day I would ignore it to the best of my ability.

We packed the bags, checked out of the hotel and took off towards central Cardiff. Our first stop? Cardiff Market, a Victorian era farmers' market that has existed since the 1700s right off of St. Mary's Street. I had actually written about the Cardiff Market in another publication after doing lots of research. Being actually able to stand there, made me beside myself, like I was a character in my own story. It's a lovely market with everything from hardware, to clothes, to food. This is when we ran into our friend from Demrio's. He came running up to us yelling "Ladies!!! How are you? Out for a stroll?" Here we were, once again in Cardiff making friends after one day. It only made my bitterness about leaving worse. Back home I'm lucky to have my friends even Facebook me, yet here after one day we knew all about the guy's brother in Delaware, his immigrating and not being able to speak "the" English. They say the American south has "southern hospitality," but I say we romanticize the idea more than we exhibit such behavior. Here in Cardiff, or Bristol, or Brussels, or even London? I could be married and pregnant if I stayed there more than a week.

Shan ended up buying some convertible gloves. Normally I'd be jealous but I had already placed an order for a set of European style Ugg boots without her knowing.... so I just kept my mouth shut and smiled. As you can imagine, I was fighting back the tears at every corner, refraining from dropping to my knees and screaming "why is the world so beautiful?" That's when Shannon interrupted my emotional discourse by finding some Clark's Pies in the butcher's case at the market. Oh blessed Jesus of meat pies, I'm finally in heaven.

After a bit more shopping we worked our way up to Cardiff Castle's gift shop. I was looking for a new Welsh rune stone. I had bought one here last year, and was hoping to find another. I've worn it everyday for a year, and it was time to update it. Unfortunately they no longer sold them. :( With a few hours till our train departed to London we finally decided to spend the £20 to go inside of Cardiff castle. We didn't have the time to spare last year, and this year I was still a bit reluctant since we had already seen numerous castles, forts, and what not... and well, £20 seemed a lot. In the hindsight I was glad we did. After all, the money does goes to support my Welsh sisters and brothers. It was a good thing we had prepared for this trip by purchasing backpack style luggage since we'd now be climbing countless steps and not having traditional luggage gave us the freedom to trek the grounds. It worked out perfectly. Cardiff Castle consists of an outer partially subterranean hollow wall with super long halls that you can actually walk through, the inner buildings and then aloft a giant mound of dirt surrounded by a moat, the actual castle, called the Norman Keep. Apparently many more buildings at one time occupied the surrounding grounds but through various occupations the structures were destroyed, rebuilt, or modified for the rulers at hand. What's equally amazing is that it's still used by the city today to host concerts, and other events. It makes the grounds apart of the modern Cardiffian's lives rather than some tourist attraction behind a glass window.

We explored almost all of the castle including parts of the "apartments", kitchen, clock tower and outer wall. You really couldn't help imagine being a princess or some royalty- pitter pattering along the great halls in a long flowing gowns rendezvousing with your love in some dark remote corner under candle light. It truly is probably the closest I'll ever get to touching something from my families past in such a ironic, poetic manner. Of course if there was any question, we only needed to look at the historical signs on the castle's grounds. In fact, this guy, looks so much like my dad I almost thought I was on candid camera:



Shan of course said- take a picture, because it's "like so bloggable" for when you get home. She was right of course.

Time was now running out. We hit a few more stores, then scurried over to Cardiff Central Rail Station about forty five minutes early. We grabbed some baguettes, and a few items for the two and half hours train trip back to London and then finally made our way to the train platform. Once again I was forced to say goodbye to Wales. A place I wish I grew up in, a place I wish was my home. This time though, I was also saying goodbye to so much more: to Brussels, to Sarah, to our friends, to Bristol, to the Italian guy, even to my dreams. They say you get exactly what you expect when you go on vacation in Europe, and in a way you do. For me the vacation is never just a vacation, for me it's a drug that keeps me sane, that keeps me alive and without it, I stop functioning- I become just this empty shell. It was at that moment when I got on that train: I shut down completely. I just sat there. For hours in silence, like you do after someone dies and you finally cry yourself to the point you're emotionless. That was me. When we stepped off the train at Paddington my body moved forward, but not by any lucid order from my own mental being. As like breathing merely to thwart of asphyxiation, my body placed one leg in front of another and took me somewhere not by any choice of my own.

We made our usual stop at Hammersmith. Switched lines, grabbed some dinner: some "take-out". Shan got her Indian food. I got some chips and sauce. Yes sauce, as in like Belgian frites and saus. This is when my heart had reached its terminus and nearly broke in two. I sat in our hotel room with a styrofoam take-out box of French fries and frites saus forking them into my mouth while I cried the entire time, tears rolling down my face. I didn't want to go, I didn't want to leave.  This was the end of the most amazing adventure of my life. Tomorrow I would go home and none of this would be real anymore. The world magically transforming and rearranging below you as you fly. Is it really all that different than going through a rabbit hole, or being swept away by a tornado? If you never knew the places or people existed in this world, and I had told you about my adventure in this magical land with brick roads, gothic buildings, and weird foods, you probably would say "Liv was just having a dream." I know it's real though. Isn't that- that fact: that Dorothy knew it was real, and that I do too, but no one else really does (or can in the way I do) the ironic injustice in all this? That when you go back home it becomes nothing more than a memory? Some photos, maybe even a keepsake. It's all out there somewhere, it's just I can't have it any more. Destiny dictates I can't NOT get on that aircraft back to Raleigh- society doesn't let me suddenly stay where my heart beckons. No I would be boarding flight 173 tomorrow not because I want to, but because I had absolutely no other choice. It wouldn't be a conscience decision. It would be whatever forces are driving my life, pushing that one foot in front of the other while tears roll down my cheeks and in my mind I'm screaming "I don't want to go."

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