Kicks and Hugs in Equal Measure

The reason we have a very happy marriage is because Rosa operates by a simple, unvarying rule. "You have to give kicks and hugs in equal measure to get results from Richard.

The kicks are verbal, not physical, I hasten to add. They are home truths.

They're the stick. Hugs are the carrot. Which makes me the donkey, I suppose.

Donkey or tramper, being kicked is not fun. However, usually it is deserved. Rosa is very fair.

I yearn for the hugs but oh boy, do I have to cross burning lakes of fire to reach them. They're worth every step, though.

In Mangawhai Heads, trouble, not love, came to town with the arrival of our heavily-loaded little car.

A huge, black "moon boot" cast strapped to Rosa's left leg (she broke a pinky toe in a Yoga class earlier in the week and please don't ask how) signalled impending drama.

The boot fitted her mood. It was made to give a good swift kicking.

Sure enough, the first well-aimed blow landed within an hour of her arrival.

"You're a dreamer!" she raged, referring to my utter failure to contact the Whangeraii media about my walk.

"You've abandoned me and your responsibilities!" she stormed.

"You haven't given me an end date!" she accused.

Now I know how Noah felt when he told Mrs Noah that his next calling was to build a huge ark.

Mrs Noah got it wrong but so far Rosa is right (most of the time.)

I am a dreamer who has more or less abandoned her and my responsibilities for an unknown period of time. But at least I have a dream and a calling. I'm walking toward a better future, not away from one. There is no precise date but I will return to her in mid-March.

She has dreams also. She wants time and space for herself after this mad year of movement, experiment and 24/7 personal and professional intimacy. She is moving towards her future and there is no end date. Plus, she's the one who told me to "to get lost!"

I can live with the uncertainty. I support her wish to grow. I am a little lost but I'm on the right track.

Even if the kicks hurt because a) they come from her and b) they are based on truth, I do need them from time to time.

Most of us dreamers do.

Lets not let allow kicks to turn into bruises, however. Wait for emotions to subside. Then, get clear.

It doesn't take long. We are really, really good friends beneath the froth. We end up performing our silly "Sorry" ritual. Afterwards, we laugh, feeling lighter, no bruises. We're both wrong. We're both right. It's very fair.

She hugs me and keeps hugging me.

The boot is on the other foot now.