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 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.

 

 

 

finding Love at First Sight

How was it possible to just glance and see him sitting there,
and know?

How had my heart bruised my chest with the force of its beat,
when I hadn’t even seen his face?

How did I know it was our destiny to meet,
when I could simply have walked on by?

How had fate interwoven our paths and lead us there,
without a warning bell?

How might I have missed him altogether,
if I had passed by later, just by a minute or two?

How did I find him and open my heart,
when looking for love was so far from my mind?

How did I not even know his name, that he existed at all,
until then?

How can a normal day become an extraordinary day,
when everything changed?

How did all that happen …

… the moment I walked in the room?

Also published by Mantra Mood (September 2017)

finding Love, Again

“Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.”

(D H Lawrence, “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”)

A year since he had broken her heart, almost to the day.

A year of finding her way through an emotional whirlpool of desperation, anger, devastating sadness, fear, loneliness, self-doubt … let no-one say that letting go is easy.  It is not.

Nonetheless, she’d made it through.  Where once the thought of just getting through a day seemed more than she could bare, at last she found herself looking forward instead of wondering what could have been. She no longer needed to wear the mask that told the world she was fine … because she was.   She had chiselled away at the mountain of hurt with a courage and determination that she would no longer let it stand in her way.

They say you have to love yourself, before you can love someone else. She understood that now, and perhaps that had been the problem all along. While she struggled to find out who she really was, she’d looked to him to fill in all the gaps, to show her the way, to prop her up as she dipped those first tentative toes into her new life. May be it had all been too much to ask.

The past cannot be changed, so the only way forward is to accept it, learn from it, and find out a way to mend. She was still finding out, but she’d come a long way  in a year… and it showed.

She could feel the life she’d imagined pulling her forward and she ran to it , arms outstretched, with the hope and belief that it was hers to live, right there, just in front of her grasp.  She had come through, trusted in her journey, and her heart was open. She felt a force coming towards her, so strong that it would change her life.

So when, a few days later,  she saw him for the first time, she knew …

 

Also published in Mantra Mood (September 2017)

 

 

 

finding Hope

“Patience means knowing it will happen . . . and giving it time to happen.”
(Susan Jeffers, “Feel The Fear & Do It Anyway”)

Hope comes in all forms. Those who love us, truly love us, are there no matter what. To listen, even when they’ve heard it all before and they knew, truth be told, that this was how things would end. It’s the knowing that they are there, no matter what, that forms the foundation for the journey forward. The knowing that their support will never change. Those kind of friendships are the precious ones, the ones we should never take for granted, the ones we should treasure.

What surprised her however, was the hope that came from the most unexpected places, the most unexpected people, those unexpected drops of hope that ripple out, and change the course of things forever. Hers came from a wonderful colleague, someone she saw every day, who, unbeknown to her, had observed her from afar, and felt troubled by what she saw. It is extraordinary how our emotional state manifests itself in our physical being. She’d seen it herself in another friend, an elegant, beautiful woman, full of exuberance and sparkle, who seemed to have faded away, had lost her very essence of being. She recognised the signs right away. A woman does. “He was so beautiful” she’d sighed. And he had broken her heart.

She felt it too, but did not realise how it showed, until that colleague gently stopped her one day at work, and offered her a book about facing up to fear. The generosity of the gesture overwhelmed her. So humbling to receive such kindness, such care from someone she hardly knew.

Little did she realise then, but that simple gesture, that tiny fragile drop of hope, changed everything. It had never before occurred to her, that, at the very time when she felt so very afraid, that her life was so out of control, that her heart would never mend …… she had the power within herself, to control it all. It was nothing short of a revelation.

She saw, as if for the first time,  the incredible love that surrounded her, and started to accept the things she could not change. And she finally released those tears she had held back for long, and breathed out his betrayal like a black soot from her lungs. She was beginning to mend.

We are all the sum of our journey, and the person she was with him, created, for better or worse, the person she was now. Hope was not lost, it was just that hope with him was lost.

Letting go took a year, almost to the day, but she was still here, still loved, and still had before her a whole extraordinary life to live.

There is always hope …

finding A Broken Heart

“The hottest love has the coldest end” (Socrates) 

Whether we realise it or not, when life throws us into the darkened depths of emotional trauma, the journey forward follows the same path for us all. 

Years before, on the day her husband had called her at work with news of redundancy, as she sat in the staff room, numb with shock, a friend took a sheet of paper and drew what she called “the trough of despair”.  The journey from loss to hope. It is always the same. The initial shock, numbness and denial, anger even, trying to make sense of it all.  Then the fear and loneliness set in, those long days and nights, when it feels like there is no way out.  And then, finally, an acceptance of what has happened, starting to mend and finding hope.  That’s just how it is.

What makes the journey different for us all, is the depth the trauma and how long it takes us to move from the loss to the hope.  For some, while the journey is still hard, with love and support, they will find a way forward.  Others may never climb out of the darkness.

While the end of her marriage would always leave a sadness in her heart, the grief had crept up over many years.   What had never occurred to her, not for one second, was that her journey forward could bring with it such desperate depths of emotional despair, in the form of a broken heart. 

Surely that was the kind of thing that teenagers went through, when they struggled with the onset of puberty, rampaging hormones and low self-esteem. Surely, this woman who had been brave enough to leave a 30-year marriage that was no longer fulfilling her, surely that mature, confident woman, would have the benefit of life experience to avoid those pitfalls? What hadn’t occurred to her, was that she was probably the most vulnerable she had ever been in her life.

She had seen it coming, of course.  Truth be told, we can always see it coming, if we are brave enough to look.  It is there, just sitting, waiting, waiting.

With him, she always felt it in her stomach. An ache that she chose to ignore, because the desperate realisation of what it meant was too awful to bear.  Ignoring it meant she could hold on to hope, and, in those early days, hope was all she had.  

He was so self-assured, not arrogant exactly, but with a nonchalance that made him all the more attractive to the opposite sex.  It never really felt like she would grow old with him, but their emotional highs were so life-changing for her, and the physical attraction so strong, that the relationship became like a drug, always coming back for more. 

It was always going to end this way. but she, in all her vulnerability, had fallen in love.  She heard his hesitation, the intake of breath at the other end of the line, and those four words.  “I’ve met someone else”. And she broke.

 

 

finding Marrakech

“Life is either a daring adventure …… or nothing” (Helen Keller)

Their paths crossed, and she knew her world would never be the same again. Right from the start, he’d told her they would have no future together – her means would never stretch to the far-flung corners of the world where his imagination took him … and yet, nearly a year on, his hand wrapped protectively around hers, they weaved their way together through the bustling alleyways of the Marrakech souks.

Just ahead of them, two elders walked in earnest conversation. Dressed in hooded robes, with something of a Jedi knight about them, they might well have talked of the sports results of the night before, but their rapid Berber dialect hinted of mysterious and foreign lands. They strolled the dusty, winding paths of the souks with a familiarity that paid scant regard to the haphazard passing traffic his protective hand sought to shield her from. A sun-wizened market trader sitting lazily side saddle on his trusty donkey. Some two dozen trays of freshly laid eggs balanced precariously on the rack of a rusting push bike, destined for the food stalls in the Kasbah. A spluttering moped, it’s trailer laden with vegetation wilting in the midday sun. A family of four astride another, the youngest, no more than a toddler, secured only by his father’s arms on the handlebars .

The souks opened before them like an Aladdin’s cave. Away from the perpetually busy, tourist saturated Jemaa El Fna. From the hypnotic rhythm of the snake charmers, cajoling the cobra to perform their dance, soporific in the intensity of the heat. Away from the menagerie of tricksters, pick-pockets, herbalists and story-tellers. Away from the water sellers, and the lines of caleches, their horses waiting patiently for their next fare.

Away to the dappled shade, where the true Marrakech artisans plied their wares in cool, darkened inlets built into the ancient ochre walls of the Medina. A soft hammering filled the air as intricate patterns emerged on the delicate lanterns. The heady aroma of pyramids of exotic spices, bubbling tagines, and rows of figs and dates attracting more flies than passing trade. Rows of soft leather babouches, lined up like an untarnished paint pallet with their pointy toes and colourful hues. And rugs hanging from every beam, their weaves steeped in tribal history and tradition.  The souks – all that is Marrakech in their every breath – lulled into an afternoon calm as the call for prayer echoed from the Koutoubia mosque.

The elders paused, looked back. A momentary meeting of eyes, of East meets West. Then they took another path, and were gone.

His protective hand shielded her still, as they emerged into the light of the bustling metropolis. And she wondered if he, like the elders, would one day take another path and leave her to find her own, or if they would follow a path together.

Inshallah …….