Love Letters #22

Dear Pip,

Penelope.

Penny.

Pip, I have known you for approximately six years. And forty seven days. And three and a half hours (at the time of writing this).

We met the day I met with my fate. My fate was you, of course. Didn’t you know?

We were both looking at the same teapot. It was yellow and had blue spots on and I remember thinking you had to be a certain kind of person with a certain kind of taste to like such a teapot because let me tell you, it was hideous.

But there was only one of them left and you said, ‘Oh, you have it.’

And I said, ‘Please, no, you have it.’ Because I didn’t even want it in the first place.

And you said, ‘Oh, no, I was only looking. You have it.’

And I said, ‘I wouldn’t be a gentleman if I took it when a young lady has her eye on it. It would be daylight robbery.’

And you snorted and said, ‘Well how about we halfsies it and then share it.’

‘What, like, monthly swaps?’ I asked, ‘or shall we cut it in half?’

‘Sure.’ You were nonchalant. Casual. You even shrugged and that is when I noticed the apple green jacket you are wearing. It was hideous also. (Please don’t hate me. We have discussed the ways colours are worn. And apple green blazers were out of the question. I even made a graph. Please see attached piece of paper for reference.)

‘Well,’ I said very carefully, ‘that then means, of course, that we shall have to swap details.’

‘Let’s buy this thing.’ You picked it up gently and as I reached into my pocket to take out my wallet my elbow jerked yours and it slipped out of your hands and fell down, down down onto the brightly polished John Lewis floors.

We both stared at it.

‘Ah well,’ you said, ‘I was only looking at it because I was curious about something so ugly. Good riddance, I say! I’m Pip. What’s your name?’

I stared at you in pleasant surprise and I felt my lips stretching out my face of their own accord.

‘James.’ I said, and then, ‘let us look for more ugly teapots.’

Of course we had to pay for that ugly yellow polka dot tea pot. It was atrocious. And then for your birthday present a year later I got you a similar teapot which you use for your indoor geraniums. It was from John Lewis and you killed yourself laughing at it and told me I was a money waster because there was no way you would use that for anybody. It could never grace your table.

I remember asking you all wounded, like, ‘What, not even for the reason that it was graced by my hands?’ I was also slightly flirting even though we were firm friends by then, but I could not resist. I can never resist you, Pip.

‘Nope.’ You were very firm.

I am writing to tell you that I want to marry you. I can’t say it to your face because you have beautiful eyes and I know exactly how they will look at me and I will not be able to help myself because I will kiss you and then I will be done for. I know you will be impatient with that and tell me that is nonsense and of course I can help myself but I will not want to. Help myself. At all.

Also I asked my aunt if she read those French books I gave her and she said yes, they were lovely books. You were right. She didn’t read them. Else she would have called me to lecture me horrendously about them. Lovely books indeed. She asks about you a lot and tells me I should marry you quicktimes before you grow too old to have kids.

So back to my fate. You are my fate either way. If you say yes then it will have been a good fate and if you say no I will be broken hearted forever and when I do eventually heal and marry somebody for realsies I will still remember you as the first ever woman who broke my heart.

You know love is a strange thing. So strange. I used to think I loved a woman before. I was seventeen. She wasn’t particularly beautiful but I was infatuated by her and loved her to pieces but she always treated me badly. And one day she went too far and I discovered she was sleeping with a right old tramp of a fellow, but I forgave her. Well I told her I did but I don’t think I really did. Something inside of me snapped that day. She walked on me one too many times. And three miserable months of forced smiles and fake kisses later I met you and the day afterwards she wanted to see me and I called her and I said, ‘I can’t. I can’t do this anymore.’

And when I was with her I thought there could never be anyone else because she was my first love. But it was meagre and ridiculous and pathetic and also desperate. Compared to what I feel about you. I am crazy about you. I look at you and I see my future. And I want to spend all my time with you and walk home from work with you and call you every single day but I stop myself because I don’t want you to get sick of me. I also want to kiss your forehead. It is so gentle and smooth and beautiful.

But see, if we were married I could call you everyday and it wouldn’t be weird, right? I could also kiss your forehead and it would be comfortable.

So, what do you say, Pip?

Yours sincerely and faithfully and truly (scrumptious),

Jim

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A lil Something

I wish

That one day

I can have peace

Of mind

and heart

Also,

A private room

to live in

and to do my washing

Without having to wake up at 5am to do it

And to kiss my husband

As passionately as I like

without worrying about a knock on the door

Cuz PDA is gross

Also

To sleep during the day

Without worrying

about in-laws

thinking I am lazy.

I am not.

I swear.

I am constantly working.

On the move.

That is why

I

am so

tired.

All the time.

 

4 hours sleep,

kind of tired.

 

Cupcakes and Frowns

I haven’t got a story anymore and I am exhausted.

Well, no, I do have a story. But it is shredded to pieces and I am too tired and emotionally drained to pick anything up. Also my heart feels like a heavy sack that is sinking low into my abdomen and it is making me feel sick.

So I am eating cupcakes to mask the pain only the cupcakes make the pain worse. There are vanilla ones with a vanilla buttercream frosting, topped with strawberries and blueberries. There are chocolate ones which came out beautifully glossy, with a sheen of chocolate icing. And a sprinkling of chocolate curls.

Well, cupcakes are delicious and delicious things are good for you – within a respectable limit, of course.

Listen up, folks. Adulting is about dealing with your problems and communicating with those who are important to you, also not being afraid of confrontation. I am terrified of confrontation.

But, Mr Damian, I have plenty to talk to you about and I will talk to you about it. I will. I must. I can’t not.

 

On Suspicion and Trust

I don’t trust people because when I do make that mistake I am usually disappointed.

Maybe it is that I don’t know who to trust, and can’t suss out a person well enough before I make the mistake of trusting them. Or maybe it is just that I have not yet met a decent person who I can fully trust yet.

Once a personal secret exits my mouth, I know it is no longer in my hands. I have no control over the dung tornado that might take place and I cannot handle not being in control of my own personal business.

So I am suspicious of everybody and I trust a minuscule amount of people.

I don’t even trust certain young ladies who I have known for nigh on sixteen years now.

Also, side thought, wow. I can say I have known somebody for sixteen years. Can you believe that? It wasn’t so long ago that I myself had only been walking this planet for sixteen years. Where have six years gone!?

I am not sure why this is. I have certainly been betrayed in the past. I have moved around quite a lot and lived in three different countries because of my father’s line of work. Also I find it disconcerting when I have confided in somebody for them to constantly bring up my private business when they have no business doing that. It is ill mannered and downright rude. Also it makes me realise that they are petty people who cannot behave like adults even though they have been for quite some time.

Do you have problems trusting a lot of people?

My issue with trust has meant that I have more acquaintances than friends, because I am afraid of divulging too much information about myself. Also, in this city that I live in, news gets around surprisingly fast. The other day a stranger walked up to me and knew my name and asked me how did it feel to be married so young and was my marriage doing okay?

I didn’t know this busybody of a woman. Nor did I care to. Also I have been married two years now (almost three) and it is getting SO DAMN TIRING hearing people I don’t know very well asking the same old question over and over again.

‘How is married life?’

That question puts my teeth on edge and makes me want to scream. It makes me so irrationally angry!

‘Sorry, do I know you?’ I said to the lady, as politely as I could. Apparently her husband’s cousin works with me, and she used to be my mother in law’s neighbour. Well, I told her it was fine then excused myself and walked on.

You see? People are nosy and not to be trusted. I mean, if she knows me, could she not have introduced herself and spoken about something else? Also, I see her at work now and all she does is ask nosy questions about my marriage and when I am planning on having kids and whether or not I have had any problems yet.

Well. It is not all salt and vinegar. There are some very lovely, loyal, trustworthy people about who I can completely trust and who would never ever betray that trust. And they are certainly worth holding on to.

Friday

Fridays are my days off. I cherish these days.

On Fridays I still wake up at 5am, and there are still a myriad of chores awaiting me. However they do not involve getting ready and leaving the house. They are not associated with rushing madly around trying to leave by a certain hour, and charging all day from one place to another, always alert, always stressed. They involve minor things like shaving my legs and hoovering and putting dishes away at my own pace.

They involve driving my mum to the supermarket and meandering about as she does her shop. They involve washing clothes and tidying up a room that has been trashed by four days of two adults rushing around getting ready every morning.

Small chores. Menial tasks. Sips of coffee. Gentle face wash. Slow application of makeup. Maybe a cake will be baked. Maybe a friend will be visited. Fridays are my break days, the gentle rest before the mad rush of a hectic weekend and the plunge into exhausting Monday again.

So, lately, my favourite day of the week is Friday. Friday is my quiet day. My contemplative day. My day to relax and allow my brain to ..actually… think.

And I really do thank God it is Friday.

Fake It Till You Make It.

Marriage is hard, folks.

Very hard indeed.

I have reached a hard rocky point, where insecurity and instability are at its peak, and it just looks so bleak. And it is very confusing to navigate, and how does one make the other understand, and how does the other understand one, and how does one love the other like before, whilst being so deeply frustrated and saddened by one.

Men are strange creatures, that is what.

And women are fools to their emotions and fantasies.

Marriage is not a dream boat. I think we all know that.

I am just trying to navigate these treacherous waters.

We all want to be happy in the end, I suppose.

Right now I am supposed to be gloriously happy but I am severely miserable. But I am going to fake my happiness until it comes to me of its own accord, because sometimes in life you have to smile your tears away and learn how to be savvy – in order to save your sanity and hold your relationship together.

But oh, it is hard. So so hard. I have to hug and kiss when my insides are furious and hurt and sad – but I have to because I love this frustrating man so much. I just need to figure out a way to deal with all of this insecurity.

How on EARTH does my mother do it?! Kudos to that emotionally strong woman, that’s what. I am realising now things I could never have envisioned before.

 

How Important Is What You Want To Do?

Maybe you want to do what you want to do, but have you done it?

I want to do what I want to do. I want to write stories and have them read by hundreds and thousands of people. Even millions. I want them to have an aura of their own and I want them to find special nooks in people’s hearts.

And I know that in a hundred years my name will never even have existed, unless it does in somebody’s mouldy attic. In fact, in another thousand years, it will be like none of us have ever existed.

I stopped by Castle Howard in Yorkshire yesterday as part of my current two week road trip. It is stunning, beautiful, all the original furniture from the 1700s still stands, and the owners, when it is not open to the public during the winter months, still live there! Which, to me, is simply fascinating. The mansion is beyond any regular proportions of any lovable house in the UK today (well, I think), and yet the tenth generation of Howards still house under its magnificent and famous roofs and have parties and guests in its renowned guest rooms – with the same decor, I might add, that they had in 1800.

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Image credit – my husband.

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Image Credit – my husband.

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Image credit – my husband.

 

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I saw a central fountain of brilliant marble depicting mermen blowing water through horns on to a strong man carrying a giant marble ball on his back. I meandered through thousands of rose bushes contained within wonderfully shaped hedges. And, later, as I sat in the gardens, the hills rolling away in the distance, meeting the glittering lake to the left of the house, I thought, well imagine all the generations of people who visited this place and were awestruck by it. Imagine the previous family who flourished and died within these walls, imagine their lives and stories and ambitions.

We know nothing of those details, yet those details were tremendous to those experiencing them at that moment in time.

In the same way that our details are tremendous, our lives are so crammed with thoughts and experiences and things we want to share or feel we need to share and express – and yet, for what purpose, really?

It will all rot away and decompose anyway, and most likely not be remembered. And, given this fact, how important in the grand scheme of things is it really?

I have not done what I want to do. And this is not to say that what I want to do is not important. It is to say that I want what I want to do to be important for the short while that it will be relevant, because that is the only window I have.

Time is a cruel creature, but time is also wisdom and motivation.

 

 

Love Letters #18

Courting.

Now that was not a word I hear often these days.

These days, it’s all who slept with who and on what date, and one night stands and accidental sex leading to romance. Which is all very well if you swing that way but I never wanted to meet a man for sex first.

Does anybody court anymore, or is that an old fashioned game.

He courted me, though. Before he married me, that is. Let me tell you this story, because it is warm and sweet and very dear to my heart.

He asked me to go out with him, the first time. I stood for ages in front of the mirror, pinching my cheeks like in the books and debating whether or not to wear makeup. I didn’t even own any makeup back then. Only a wand of mascara and an old foundation bottle that my mum had no use for anymore.

I was nineteen. He was twenty two.

I went downstairs and my hair was still damp from the shower so I pulled it back into a high ponytail, my thick, heavy curls cascading down over my back and my mum surveyed me and tweaked my hair a little, pulling a strand or two down by my face.

‘You look lovely,’ she said.

When I walked into the front room to see if he was ready I was trembling with nerves. I was aware my face was flushed and his was a little too, which I thought was so sweet. He put my hand through his arm when we walked and he opened the car door for me and he bought me a bouquet of lilies.

He smelled amazing. Musky and minty and cinnamon and leather. His face was so handsome. But on that first date, when we sat opposite each other just talking the hours away, he smiled at me. A real, genuine smile. And something deep down within me shifted a little bit. Moved out of place. My body became aware of his presence, and my stomach somersaulted quietly.

He courted me. Every time he came to see me, he brought me something. He always had something to show me, something to tell me. When we talked, hours would pass that felt like mere minutes.

Once he came home from Worcester where he worked during the week, and came straight to see me in his work shirt, the top button undone. He looked exhausted.

He said, ‘I couldn’t wait till Friday, I had to see you.’

He’d driven an hour and a half straight after work in the traffic and arrived at 9PM and was I flattered? Yes of course, and my heart surged with happiness but I just smiled and let him in and made him a cheese toastie and some Lady Grey.

It was Tuesday. He sat in my room until midnight and we barely noticed the time go by, and his proximity to me drove me crazy. I could see his muscular arms through the white shirt and the way his shoulders were so big and straight, and his mouth when he spoke to me and his smell every time he moved and I couldn’t even look at him because I thought I was going to kiss him, and I had never kissed him, and I didn’t know what to do with myself.

One night I wore my red dress and red lipstick and he couldn’t stop looking at me and I felt it and I felt like my dress material was too thin and I was so hot even though the wind was biting, and I didn’t want the evening to end.

When he dropped me home he text me straight away, ‘I couldn’t tell you, I don’t know why, you looked so beautiful tonight.’

The next time he saw me he asked me to marry him. He said when I wore my red dress he couldn’t believe I was real and he felt like a very lucky guy.

I didn’t hesitate. I said yes.

When he did finally kiss me properly it was after we got married and it was in a hospital room where I was held hostage for a week and it as just before he had to leave.

The moment had been building up all evening, and we’d talked about everything we could think of, and the lights in the hospital room were dimmed, and outside the window the lights of the city were gleaming through the night and it was magical, in a hospital room that smelled sterilised and sickening.

And finally he got up and said he had to go because he had a long drive home. So I reached my arms around him to hug him and he put his forehead on mine and whispered that he wanted to stay. And I held him closer and then his nose was on mine and then his lips were on mine and it was like electricity from my neck to my toes.

He held me so tight and his mouth was so soft and his arms were so strong and muscular and I never wanted it to end, I never wanted him to leave. The nurses had to force him out and they made a joke that sounded so bawdy and horrible and I didn’t like it because this wasn’t like that at all.

And he waited till they left and sneaked back in and pulled me close to him one last time, and held my face so gently and kissed me and kissed me until I thought I would turn into a puddle on the ground.

He courted me even after he married me. He took me to London one time and planned a whole day out and another time he took me to the aquarium in Birmingham and he came out with all these little tidbits of information about fish and I said, ‘where did you learn all this?’ and he said, ‘I don’t know’.

This morning his boxers were still damp from the washing so he asked me if I could lie down on them under the covers while he was in the shower and when he came out the boxers were warm and as he buttoned up his work shirt he said, ‘I got that idea from eskimos, they sleep on their clothes when they are wet because that is the only way they can dry them.’

‘How do you know that?’ I said, incredulous because where on earth did he get that information?

‘I don’t know.’

And I love him madly so so madly even though he frustrates me and can be a right moody git to me but he takes care of me so well like a true gentleman. A true gentleman who is not a romantic guy but he does small things that make me pleased and his smile is electric and every single time he smiles he charms me, even when I am in a temper. His dimples and his cheeks and his eyes filled with light and mirth and if anything ever happened to him I don’t know what I would do without him and his smile and his light and laughter and life.

And this story is old fashioned, and we are a little old fashioned, but this is how it panned out and this is how we are.

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To Write

Lipstick.

Good hair.

A dress that fits and doesn’t show all the wobbly bits.

What?

Yeah, that’s right. I don’t have any wobbly bits. Hear that? ANY. The very idea! Huh!

*flicks hair*

A dress that flatters the shape.

Perfume. That smells like something classy and refined.

Shiny, manicured nails.

Sleek, black heels.

Tiny studs in the ears. A dainty necklace snuggling in the crook of the throat.

It’s just one of those days. You know those days? When you want to swish around looking fabulous and type away for hours. Nevermind you aren’t going anywhere and you have unwashed dishes in the sink and your house is empty and there is nothing on the agenda.

Who says you can’t look nice to sit at your desk and write?

Epiphany

 

I want an epiphany moment.

I want to just get in my car and drive somewhere nice and have a right laugh and just.. let… go.

I realised that I have never, in my entire life, ever, ever ever ever let go.

Just let go.

Sometimes I have to force my mind to enjoy something I KNOW I love, but it is not truly carefree or heartfelt.

I always worry!

Even my laughter is checked. My hand will shoot over my mouth, and I will hunch my shoulders a little. I have never thrown my head back and laughed truly, deeply from the pit of my stomach. I worry my teeth might be too ugly and I hate my smile. I think it’s the cheesiest smile ever.

I have laughed myself to tears, of course. But never a belly laugh.

My sense of enjoyment and humour is checked too. I used to be a witty creature, back when my friends and I would hang out all day at school then call each other after school under the pretext of homework but we would always end up chatting about everything.. four hours.

I was with the kids yesterday and it was a party day because it’s the penultimate day of school, and I couldn’t get myself to really laugh and enjoy the moment. I worried the teacher would disprove or that I was doing something wrong. I wanted to make up and play so many games but I was worried the kids would think it was lame.

I worry too much about how I will end up looking or sounding that I end up stifling myself.

And I don’t want to do that! I am 22, almost thirty!

When I am cycling freely down a hill, wind whipping through my hair and slamming into my face, cool and refreshing, I worry about my brakes and the hard concrete below. It’s adrenaline inducing, and not an entirely unpleasant feeling, but it stops me enjoying the freedom and going as fast as I want to go.

So. I haven’t yet had the epiphany one has, at an age of their life, when they shrug off all concern and worry, and just enjoy the moment for what it is.

Sometimes my moments are horrendously ruined for me because I am a morbid old soul and think about death on a roller coaster, or my manipulative and abusive tormentor when I am on a special date. Then it all goes sour and what is supposed to be a great memory is marred by anxiety and sadness.

I am worried in the cinema because I don’t want to die in the cinema. It’s too loud and crashy and my soul doesn’t feel that great there. Weird, right?

My soul is special needs (insert joke face here). It doesn’t feel comfortable in some places. Or maybe it isn’t my soul and just my mental state.

So, folks, I want an epiphany. I want not to worry. I want a ‘hurrah’ moment where my shoulders are suddenly so light and airy and I can sail down that hill without ruining my joy.

What was your epiphany, if you have ever had one?