I Believe

January 15, 2007

i always believe that everything will work out ok. I don’t think it’s optimism as such, it’s just…maybe it’s a coping mechanism, ‘no point worrying, everything will work out for the best’. If it’s not quite how i imagined it, then that’s probably for a good reason. It’s all about the choices we make, and we never want to admit that we made the wrong choice

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If I were

January 15, 2007

Mum asked me what I would do if I were able to do just one thing over in my life. She’d been asking me a lot of questions like that recently. Her skin was getting paler and more papery, and we both knew she didn’t have long now. This was our chance to have all those conversations we’d never had, each one harder than the one before.

“I wish I’d finished your grandmothers quilt” she told me. I smiled sadly, the quilt was an emblem of my childhood, my entire life’s memories are scattered with images of fat quarters, and pieces of the quilt in progress. I had had no idea what she would say, but it was perfect – that one sentence seemed to sum up our lives together. I held her hand in mine.  “I’ll work on it, and if i don’t finish it i’ll pass it to Emma”. She closed her eyes and smiled happily, lightly squeezing my hand. “I’d like that” she whispered.

“If I could do over one thing, i’d go back so we had these conversations a long time ago” I whispered back.

What was I thinking?

January 15, 2007

It’s one of those odd phrases in the English language, because, inevitably we use the phrase to refer to times when we weren’t thinking at all. The words echoed through my head that day as the meeting room fell silent – I can’t believe i just called my boss an idiot…i clearly wasn’t thinking at all, not thought process involved at all, just words spilling from my mouth.

Morning Coffee

January 14, 2007

The coffee smelt exactly the same, my fingers ran over that same chip on the handle of the mug as it gently warmed my hands. Looking down I could see those familiar grooves in the kitchen table. My eyes were willing me to look upwards, my mind was willing them to stay down – to keep that sense of normality and familiarity. At some point it was inevitable that my eyes would drift upwards and see the gaping hole where he should be sitting, where his strong hands should be holding his own cup of coffee, but that cup will always stay in the cupboard now – I can’t bear to see it in another pair of hands if it will never again be in his.

The Roof

January 14, 2007

“for goodness sake, just be quiet for one minute!”
i knew it had gone too far then, i realised quite how loud my voice had become, and i fell silent. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. It was supposed to be a new beginning, something wonderful, being carried over the threshold and a romantic dinner surrounded by boxes we hadn’t unpacked yet. In reality we were hot, tired and nothing seemed right. I ran a hand over my forehead and grimaced when i saw the dust and grime that had now transferred to my hand. I just wanted at least one room to be finished…I looked up to find him staring at me in that funny way of his before he took my hand and led me through the dark house and up the rickety ladder, and there we were.
“I think this is my favourite room” He said softly, and i grinned at him.
“Me too”
It took us a week to unpack, and we had dinner on the roof everynight from then on, it became our secret place – just the two of us away from the chaos around us.

My Best Friend

January 14, 2007

as a child my best friend was pretty quiet. he didn’t talk much, and he didn’t talk to anyone but me. Mummy used to pretend she could hear him when she tucked us into bed at night, but we’d smile at each other and know she couldn’t. I always asked her to shoo his bad dreams out the window as well as mine though. And if one of them got back in through the crack in the curtains he’d be right there with me, and he’d tell me stories of magical lands to make me smile until i could go back to sleep. He still sits by my bed everynight as i sleep, and he knows he’ll always be my best friend in that place between sleep and awake. My new best friend pats him on the head as he walks past and climbs into bed beside me, wrapping me safely up in his arms, and i don’t need to shoo the bad dreams out of the window anymore.

Burrito

April 19, 2006

We’d been driving for hours, singing country songs along with the radio and pretending to be cowgirls.
“God, I’m starving. Lets stop and get some food.”
“Let me guess, you want another Burrito..” she laughed.
“Come on, I have the best excuse, and you know you love greasy burritos.”
She smiled at me indulgently and minutes later we pulled up to a Drive Thru, windows down, music blaring, both of us singing “Heads Carolina, Tails California” completely out of tune. The cashier looked at us bewildered – but it was tradition, we couldn’t stop singing and order until the song had ended – you can’t just cut a song like that off halfway through.

Dance for Joy

April 19, 2006

We were all sprawled across the sofas, Ruth lying on the floor on a heap of cushions, happily eating the bag of crisps we were passing around. A perfect way to waste an afternoon. We’d handed in all our work and there was nothing to do but enjoy being students for a few more weeks. A phone rang somewhere in the pile of cushions and we all joined in the hunt. As I picked up Ruth’s phone I saw who was calling and smiled as I passed it over. Her jaw dropped and she paled. I frantically motioned to the others and we were silent, watching her as she talked. As she wound up her conversation I walked over to the stereo, and as she hung up the phone and yelled “he asked me out!” I hit play and we danced around the room madly, singing Diana Ross at the top of our lungs.

I remember

April 19, 2006

I remember brief moments, like photographs in my mind, each one of him. And as I look at the images, he’s opening the door and an enormous grin spreads across his face when he sees me standing there, I can hear him saying to me, “I’ll never leave”. Nothing makes me happier than that one image of him opening the door, knowing that I made him happy. It’s taken me a long time to understand he didn’t break his promise, he didn’t leave, he was taken. Taken too early. So now I just remember that smile, and that he was wearing his glasses when he opened the door, odd as he never wore his glasses, he’d just squint at things in an adorable way.

Childhood

March 28, 2006

My sisters and I used to talk about which cartoon character we would marry. Jo and Beth would argue over Aladdin and He-Man, and they would tell me that I couldn’t choose Wil CwacCwac as he didn’t speak English, and he was a duck. I can remember us sitting in our fort (once a garden shed, then lovingly filled with pictures and cushions to sit on) practicing how to write our married names…