I wrote this post on 29 January 2017, but never published it, it was too raw, too difficult for me to read back, let alone to allow it to be read by people out there in the ether of the online world. I have done a lot of personal healing and growing since this very bleak day earlier this year, so now I feel I am ready to let it go and allow others to see the raw emotions that made me write it in the first place.
It was spring and something changed; I had survived my first winter in a foreign land. Cold like I’d never experienced in my life, the kind that gets inside your bones and sinews and no matter what you do it never leaves you. The culture shock! I spoke the language but somehow couldn’t communicate with people, words seemed to have a different meaning to the one assigned to them in the dictionary. Sarcasm, irony and mockery were the order of the day but it made understanding people’s intentions nigh on impossible, were they being friendly or trying to take advantage of me? I was working so hard just to keep the wolf away, money was tight (sometimes not enough to feed myself) and yet I knew that if I could hang on for a little longer I would make it a success. I hadn’t migrated nearly five thousand miles searching for a better life just to flounder at the first hurdle.
We met one Sunday morning, I had travelled from up north to London; for the first time since arriving in this country I had the opportunity to see the big city and marvel at its amazing buildings new and old and bear witness to what every migrant must feel when faced with its famous streets, that indeed they are paved in gold! Oh the opportunities!
My friend, your friend, our friend, had arranged a meet up for breakfast at your local cafe, where we were to meet you and his sister. I assumed you and our friend’s sister were a couple, so was taken aback when your attention seemed to be solely directed at me and my daughter, but hey I was in a foreign land and when in Rome do as the romans. So I reciprocated by directing all my attention, out of politeness, to you, ignoring our mutual friend and his sister. That didn’t go down very well with our friend, so instead of building bridges I had burnt one. Of course I didn’t realise at the time that our friend’s interest in me was more than for friendship, I was naive.
Unexpected, unsolicited, relentless… you made your way into my life and took a keen interest in everything I did, planned and dreamt of. I had no idea what your intentions were and had far too much turmoil in my personal life to really pay attention, so I just dismissed your efforts. I didn’t know where admiration ended and mockery started, so I remained distant. But you didn’t give up, nowadays your behaviour would be considered stalking, back then it was just sweet, I was naive.
I was not looking for a relationship, I was already in one which I wanted desperately to end. So no jumping out of the pan and straight into the fire, I said to myself. But you wouldn’t give up, it was so hard for me not to give in. And when I did, your love was beautiful, gentle, tender, all-consuming, loyal; I was not used to it, until that point in my life love had been hurtful, deceiving, betraying. Your kind of love made me feel scared because it was so different, unexpected, unsolicited, relentless.
You showed me how to be kind to myself, how to accept the kindness of others, you brought calm to my soul and held my heart safely in your hands. You made me happy. You made my world complete. You made me a better person and because of your love I was able to love you back in the same beautiful, gentle, tender, all-costuming and loyal way you loved me.
And so we started our lives together, enjoying each other’s quirks, making each other stronger, making plans, falling in love. You were in a hurry, you said, you were not getting any younger and until you found me you never thought you were going to marry or have a family; you were so happy to be a father to my daughter and proclaimed that I was the best mother you had ever met. Marriage, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us apart, we promised; followed swiftly by two beautiful children and making our forever home together, I still hungry for adventure, you content with allowing me space to follow my dreams, because as you said, yours had come true the day we met.
And so fifteen years of domesticity, every day hum drum, paying the bills, bringing up the children, “who is doing the shopping this week?”, “shall I cook tonight?”, “it’s in the calendar, so it’s happening”, just trying our best to keep the love alive.
And then everything changed, dammed blasted alien took hold of you, unexpected, unsolicited, relentless, invading your body and your soul. It attempted to destroy everything we had worked so hard to build together. It really did try its hardest to get in between us, and I had to put all my strength into reminding you of our sweet, tender, all-consuming love; our promise was tested, oh we were tested! And just as we thought there could be no more tests, we had shown our promise to be as strong as iron, the same invading alien took hold of my body. It devastated you, as you knew the alien was robbing you of your life and your strength at the very moment when I needed to be cared for, yet you couldn’t be there for me. Your body was ravaged, where once stood a strong, athletic, powerful man, the alien consumed you, leaving a paralysed mumbling wreck, taking you away from me, from your children, from your friends, to a land where we are not allowed to visit
And now you’re no longer here, I try so hard to hold on to the memories; eighteen years and yet all I can see is how everything changed.