Stumble at Porto Delgado

(This is a continuation of “Surprises“–please read that first)

The mystery airport with the cheap connection is PDL, Porto Delgado, the largest town in the Azores, on the island of São Miguel

I have booked us for three days here. One (I figured) for the famed Lagoa das Sete Cidades, one for whale-watching and swimming with dolphins (yes, in the open ocean!), and one for a leisurely trip to the other end of the island to enjoy the hot springs. There’s even a hot waterfall in one of the calderas!

Stumble number one was the long delay in Boston. By the time we get here, it’s noon, and we have not slept for 24 hours. So day one is lost to exhaustion and jet lag.

But, no worry. We find, in a brochure, an adventure package that combines a half-day at sea with a tour of Sete Cidades, book it for Wednesday, get directions for the hot springs resort at Furnas for Tuesday, and just take an easy walk around town to settle in for Monday night.

PDL skyline
Back street in Porto Delgado
PDL Graffiti
PDL street
Tasca interior

It is during that easy walk that stumble number two hits: suddenly, my knee feels twisted, just a little twinge with each step. It doesn’t seem like much at first, but by bedtime it’s a searing pain that I clearly cannot walk on–or swim, probably, Nor would I want to try to get into a wet suit, in this condition, nor ride a bus for an hour on mountain roads. Our plans are crumbling, and I spend the night in terror that the entire trip will be ruined.

Tuesday, instead of going to the mountains, we are at the hospital, waiting for the orthopedist to see me. I end up with a negative result on the x-ray, no further diagnosis, instructions to use a spray-on anti-inflammatory that (it turns out) could have been bought over-the-counter, without the hours waiting at the hospital.  Throughout this ordeal, Maggie is an angelic trooper, taking care of all the details I cannot readily tend to. I am so grateful.

The third stumble strikes as we reach the end of the day. I’m not even sure, at this point, what triggered it, but Maggie has become angry with me. My emotional resources are suddenly non-existent; this wonderful adventure that I have gone so far out on a limb for suddenly looks dangerous, and all at once all I can feel is how far, how incredibly far there is to fall, if this limb should break.

So, tears are shed, the emotional context is explained, the crack that threatened to swallow us is carefully filled in with solid understanding–now you know why I wrote all that in my previous post. And at last I have a clue to the mystery of how I twisted my knee on a easy stroll around town: I somehow stumbled, I guess, on that unseen crack in our relationship. And now, by the grace of our love, it is mended.

4 thoughts on “Stumble at Porto Delgado

  1. Obviously, I was optimistic about my relationship with Maggie when I wrote this. A couple weeks later, that was out the window, and I can’t remember what made me think things were so well resolved between us. All I can remember is all the subsequent freakouts that demonstrated that they weren’t. The last two weeks of travel, we barely tolerated each other.


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