finding a New Life

It still seemed extraordinary to her that life could change so much …

Leaving her old life behind had always been about giving herself a chance to be happier.  But it was a huge leap of faith, and took more courage than she knew she had in her.  Life since then had been both terrifying and exhilarating in equal measure … and the most terrifying and exhilarating thing of all was that she never knew how it would all turn out.  Of course, none of us know that, but sometimes something happens that stops you in your tracks, a life defining moment where what happened before, was before, and a new chapter begins …

It had already been a year of change.  She’d finally been able to move on from a job which was beginning to suffocate her – to a job that offered a better quality of life, less stress and more freedom of time … and spirit.  Not long after that, an opportunity came unexpectedly to move home, and she decided overnight that this was a chance to live on the coast – something she’d always dreamt of.

So within a fortnight, she’d packed her bags and moved to a tiny studio flat overlooking the sea.  She knew the town, but hardly knew anyone who lived there.  So this really was a chance to start afresh, put heartache behind her, breathe in the sea air and embrace a new life.  There’s something empowering about being brave.  It’s confidence giving and it’s a shift of mindset, where anything seems possible … she knew she’d be fine.

When you live by the sea, it’s always there.  It somehow dictates the pulse of the day. The sound of the waves filtered through her window – sometimes fiercely wild, sometimes a gentle lap on the shingle … always hypnotically pulling her out to walk along the beach, breeze tousling her hair, sun caressing her face, a new life waiting for her to let it in with all its possibilities and hope …

It was her first weekend there. One of those glorious July mornings when sun catches the sea like a path of diamonds out to the horizon, when the beach is already dotted with early swimmers, day trippers eager to find their spot on the sand, locals meandering down to the promenade for a coffee.

She’d been walking for a couple of hours, exploring,  pinching herself that this was now the place she could call home.  There was a small cafe by the beach, nothing more than a beach shack, but near enough to where she lived that she’d figured she’d meet some of the locals there.  There was a friendly buzz about the place.  She ordered her usual latte, and spotted a line of orange deckchairs fluttering in the breeze looking over the sea. There was just one empty deckchair.

“Do you mind if I sit here?”, she’d asked the man sitting next to it.  He looked up. And time stood still, and in that moment, her life changed.

Fate’s work was done.

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finding Him

 

 

Unwittingly

 

They had each held the end 

Of the invisible string of fate

Connecting them

 

All the while

The string coiled tighter 

Pulling them in

 

Closer and closer

 

That day

Life held its breath

 

Their bodies so near now

The distance between them

No more that a moment in time

 

“Can I sit here?”, she’d said

 

He looked up,

The day stood still

All that went before, was before

 

This was their time

 

Fate’s work was done

 

finding The One

How was your day, today, my love?

Was the train on time?
Did your meetings all go well?
Did you work your lunch, or take the time, to look
out of the window at that bluest of blue sky we had today
and wonder if I’d seen it too?
And are you seeing friends tonight?
Or snugging in
with season four, a beer and take away?

My day?

The same …
the train, the meetings all went well, the lunch, the bluest of blue sky,
the friends, the snugging in …
and yes, I did, take time to wonder about you.

I know,
it’s strange
… you haven’t met me yet, don’t even know my name.
Our ordinary days go by, our lives evolve,
our paths wind on their way.

But know that, on just one of your so ordinary days
You will look up and see me there and wonder
is it her?
The one who I’ve been waiting for?

And I will feel the same.

Don’t rush, my love.
That day will come and if the time is right,
There’ll be no need to shout, and wave to stand out from the crowd.
Our paths will cross
And I will know you are the one
And you will know it too.

And there will be no more so ordinary days …
… and you will know for sure that when you see the bluest of blue sky

… that I have seen it too.

x

 

 

 

 

finding A Second Chance

“There are no second chances in life, except to feel remorse.”
(“The Shadow of the Wind”, Carlos Ruiz Zafon)

Never a good idea, of course. Going back.  But she was the world’s worst at letting go, and if there was the slightest chance that she could salvage her dreams, then she didn’t hesitate to take it.  It was as if, by diving head on into that dark pool of emotional turmoil, she would know for sure if there was any hope, or if indeed it was just a dark black pool that, in all likelihood, would pull her down and down until she ran out of air and had no choice but to rise to the surface towards the light. But still, she had to know for sure.

So, when he finally, after 3 months, responded to a message, her heart skipped and hope shone its faintest light.  She had got so used to hearing nothing from him, that when her phone pinged in the darkness of her car, she consciously told herself it would not be him, to protect her still fragile heart from the disappointment that had gone before.  But it was him.  He said, simply, “Same here, for me, never stopped caring”.

He was abroad now, a flight away, but a flight which he would never take back to her, and would always have a reason why she should not fly to him.  But she hung on to his messages, empty promises of a future together. He still had a hold over her heart, so she tucked these promises away like a warm glow inside, rarely shared with anyone – because she was too afraid they would not come true, and because, in her heart of hearts, she knew they never would.  But they were hope, and hope was all she had.

Maybe he believed it himself.  Maybe he was just stringing her along.  She wanted to believe him … but she would never know if, to him, she became a daily ego-flattering text message.  Though anyone looking in would say she was the fool, knowing him as she did, in the end, she believed he was a troubled soul who really didn’t know what he wanted. And she needed him to want her.  He could not or would not ever commit to that, and true love is not forcing someone to feel something they do not.  He did not want her … enough.  

So, in the end, she had no choice but to swim for the surface, gulp in the life-giving air that was her future without him, and so begin the long journey of letting him go … again. But at least this time, she knew. 

 

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 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