finding Heartbreak, Again

“Perhaps this is what the stories meant when they called somebody heartsick. Your heart and your stomach and your whole insides felt empty and hollow and aching.”
(Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

He was gone.

She always knew, of course, that he would leave to follow his dream – he’d told her that right from the start.  He never said he’d stay because of her … and even if he had, she would have told him to go anyway.  This was something he had to do, and though they’d talked of her following him one day, for now he had to do this alone, to find himself, to find his path.  It was a difficult time, an emotional time, when he needed space to prepare for the journey ahead. She found herself caught in the no-mans-land between the life he had and the life he was going to, and as her vulnerability grew, so did the distance between them.

She knew how it would end … yet she loved him anyway. The waiting game moved to a new chapter, one where she did not know if she would ever see him again. His leaving broke her heart.

The difference this time, she reasoned,  was that she knew she would be fine, she had survived this before. She knew how it would play out, the journey from loss to hope.  She was stronger now. She would not let it pull her down to the depths of despair, fear, longing and sadness she had felt before. She would not give it the head space.  She would be kind to her soul, her very essence of being, and laugh again.  She would accept that he had gone, and live her life to the full, without him.  That was her plan.

But her heart did not hear. There is no short cut from loss to hope.  Days of despair and fear cannot be shortened to just one day, sadness and longing do not give in to hope without a fight.  He had taken a piece of her with him, and so, like before, heartbreak wrapped its icy fingers round her soul, and she lived her life as best she knew how, while she waited for the thaw.

 

 

 

finding 445 Days

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Day 444. His message read, “I’m leaving with the morning tide”.

A lifetime before, it was his freedom of spirit that had called to her soul. Those impenetrable eyes that would always seem to hide his darkest secrets, sparkling then, as he told her of his plans to sail the world, of being brave enough to dream impossible dreams.

So how it would end, was written from the start.  A cautious heart with any sense of self preservation would have wished him well and moved on.  Hers was neither, and in that moment as she fell under his spell, the pendulum set in motion, marking their days.  

The other lady in his life had stood proud and tall at the marina’s edge when at last they were introduced, and later, as the three of them glided out into the heady blue, the wind caught the mainsail,  and their spirits soared as one.  Anchored under the stars that night, time, it seemed, stood still.

The months passed. She waited and watched in awe, while he poured over tidal charts, swathes of blue surrounding tiny dots of paradise, and lavished his every waking hour on resolutely fettling his dream into a reality. She breathed his salty air as it seeped into her very core, and, for all the voices that told her she was crazy to give up everything she knew for his dream, she believed him when he said “meet me on the other side”.  

The last day. He silently slipped the ropes, a morning fog wrapping its icy fingers around the bow, stealing her heart and the promise of their tomorrows. She held her breath as the pendulum caught the final whisper of the prevailing breeze, it’s heartbeat faltered, and stopped.  

He took with him a piece of her, lost to the heady blue and the whim of the salty skies ….. and was gone.

First published by Reflex Fiction (Spring 2017)

 

finding the Other Lady in his Life

so serene at rest
calm and self-assured

as the sparkling dance
on the tips of the waves
fades with the setting sun

gone
only to reappear above
in the darkened sky
like magic
one by one

the gentle lap on her bow
as she wraps her arms around you
her hypnotic caress
a slow, lingering kiss
your bodies as one as
she whispers sweet nothings

“I am here, trust me, I am yours”

with the waking day,
she sleepily stirs
the breeze catches her breath
her sun-kissed limbs
languidly stretch
as she turns her face to the sun
calling her
an intoxicating desire engulfing her

“take me”

she arches her back
and groans with longing
as she strains to the call
of the heady blue

your powerful arms hold her tight
guide her
reassure her
as you take control
as she bends to your will

and you conquer the world

as one

 

finding The Algarve

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“The more places you see and the more people you meet,
The greater your curiosity grows.
The greater your curiosity, the more you will wander.
The more you wander, the greater the wonder.”

(from “Rise Up & Salute The Sun”, Suzy Kassem)

Travel means different things to different people.

For many, it is the opportunity to rest and unwind in sunnier climes, without stepping too far out of comfort zone, somewhere that is a home from home, which is what package holidaying first gave us in the 70s, and what owning a property abroad offers us today.

For others, travel is the opportunity to explore, challenge and discover … and whilst they would probably veer towards the later, none of us would pass on the offer to spend some time luxuriating in a beautiful apartment in Portugal’s Algarve.

Despite its name translating literally to “Moorish Town”, there is very little in terms of history in Vilamoura – in fact it didn’t exist until about 30 years ago,  when a Portuguese banker saw an opportunity to redevelop the local harbour into an opulent marina complex of harbourside restaurants and bars, with avenues of pristine holiday homes around exquisitely manicured golf course. Today it is an expat and summer tourist heaven … a man-made escape from reality.  Nothing wrong with that, and to escape from reality with him, just for a while, was like living a dream.

But it is not Portugal ….

There is a road that runs from Faro airport to Lagos, a main artery running along Portugal’s southernmost coastline. Take any turning to the left, towards the sea, to find communities like Vilamoura, white-washed villas surrounded by opulent green.

Take any turning to the right, to find a land baked to a parched, dry crisp in the Mediterranean heat … mile upon mile of wild and rugged barrenness.  All roads wind up through Serra de Monchique, a rolling mountain range offering breathtaking views towards the Algarve and west to the Atlantic and Cape St Vincent.  Careworn villages scatter alongside dusty tracks, stark reminders of the fact that Portugal is one of the poorest countries in Western Europe.  Up and up, winding towards Monchique, an irresistible and charming hamlet, cooler in climate and cooler in vibe than it’s coastal neighbours. They wandered the seemingly deserted streets looking for shade in the midday heat, enchanted by its faded tile-clad buildings and seduced by the heady aroma of the surrounding eucalyptus groves. It felt real … and it took her breath away.

Two faces of the Portugal … one saying “look how beautiful you’ve made me”, and the other, “I already am.”

finding Long-Distance Love

 

Love reckons hours for months, and days for years; and every little absence is an age.”  (John Dryden)

There is no good reason to embark on a long distance relationship.  It is far from easy. It requires strength, belief, trust, commitment, honesty and willpower.  It is not for the fainthearted …

But, when does the heart listen to reason?  Hers certainly didn’t.

As was her way, she fell in love from the moment she saw him, and the fact that he lived six hours away, and that the number of days they would be together was destined to be vastly outnumbered by the number of days they would be apart, mattered not.

The freedom to pursue her own life, whilst at the same time being in a relationship, would seem, on paper, to be an ideal scenario for the strong, independent woman she liked to believe she had become.  She had a good life, a really good life.  But, no matter what anyone says, deep down, right deep down, there is a place inside of us all that can only be filled by loving and being loved by someone special.  And when it is, there is no other feeling like it in the world.

That is how he made her feel.

So, all the while she was living that really good life, she was waiting … to hear his voice, to look into his eyes, to feel his lips, to let her heart drown in his love.  She looked to it for her strength, exhausted as she was by having to be brave alone, and in doing so, vulnerability suffocated her independent spirit, and she fell victim to the highs and lows of the long waiting game.

In love, she would not of course have changed a thing.  She counted the days, the hours, the minutes until she jumped down from the train and ran into his arms at the end of the platform. It was all so tragically romantic. The times they were together hit those heart-soaring, live-for-the-moment, sexually-charged, adrenaline-soaked emotional highs that made all the waiting worthwhile.

And all the while, there was an unspoken pressure to make the most of the time, not to let a single moment pass to love, to talk, to touch, to look into his eyes and know that he felt the same, to make memories to sustain them during the waiting game. Absence, they say, makes the heart grow fonder … but it was never about loving more – it was about waiting, longing, and unwittingly putting him on a pedestal so high that there was always the danger of a fall.

The clock was always ticking – too slowly while they were apart, too quickly when they were together.  They became experts, by necessity, at matter-of-fact goodbyes, no dramas, just a wave … and he was gone.  The sanctuary of his embrace fading in an instant to the chill of his absence and the longing to see him again.

But she loved him, so very loved him.  So she waited until the next time. Always, until the next time.

 

 

finding Summer

I love you
I love you
I love you

No need to say it back

I tell you
because it’s how you make me feel
because somewhere in the depths of
this bruised heart of mine

is a feeling that is
for you alone
and I will shower you with it
like confetti

because it makes every day
feel

like Summer

finding Bigger Dreams

It was the usual kind of question you ask when you first meet someone, and she was expecting the usual kind of answer.

“Where do you live?”

He looked at her with those impenetrable steely blue eyes that would always fascinate her as she tried to work out exactly what he was thinking.  She never really did. He never let her, or anyone else for that matter, see into the depths of his soul.  But in that moment, he knew that what he was about to say was not the usual kind of answer.  The slightest smile crossed his lips. Lips she would grow to love and yearn to feel touching her own.  A teasing glint in those fathomless eyes.

“I live on a yacht.  And one day I’m going to sail the world”.

He watched her, those eyes sparkling, challenging her to react.  Her heart missed a beat, his freedom of spirit reached toward her, wrapped its arms around her fragile heart, showing her in an instant how life could be made of bigger dreams, bigger than she could even dare imagine.

They talked, lips moved, eyes met …. but neither of them heard any more. Life went on around them while their moment stood silent and still, waiting for them to give it a name, waiting for them to breathe out and know that this was their time.  He knew it.  And so did she. It was their time.