Our numbers dwindled till finally there were just five of us on the train to Tokyo, travelling in a cloud of that particularly numb silence that marks the end of a grand adventure in the continuous company of others.
It was a peculiar feeling to have Robert sitting almost anonymously among us, no longer standing, camera around his neck at the ready, himself ever vigilant out front, like a giant sheepdog keeping constant watch, always one step ahead, always checking that no one is behind nor too far ahead, while the rest of us blather on oblivious, like excited children. His countenance is serious, but why wouldn’t it be, after all he is thinking for all of us. Under that cold hard exterior however, there lurks a giant grin and a tiny giggle, trying not to escape until some more appropriate moment. The rest of us could simply carry on day after day without even the need for thought which was just as well for one or two for whom the very concept of “thought” did not appear to be one with which they had ever been familiar!
We have covered a lot of territory in the past few weeks, seen things that we’d never think to visit by ourselves, things that if we did think to visit we’d never find, and perhaps things that if we did find we’d never have left without his gentle nudge. What a time we’ve had!
But it’s over, we’ve gone our separate ways, some of us destined to reunite, others we know we will never see again. With just one more night to spend, and that at our hotel in Haneda Airport waiting for our flight out, we’ll just sit I’m sure, and try to take it all in.