Monday, 25 April 2016

Day 21 - I remember

Mostly I remember the way you made me feel. "You have warm feelings for the blacksmith," she said.
"Oh yes," I said. "I have very warm feelings for the blacksmith."

I had always had warm feelings for the blacksmith. I just didn't know what they were. When you phoned that day, last August, on Ed's phone, I felt joy bubbling up like a spring inside me. Like I was more excited to hear from you than from him, even though he was one of my oldest friends whose presence in my life, I had missed. But I had missed your presence even more. I just didn't know it. I miss your presence now more than I could ever have imagined.

I remember seeing you a few years ago, outside Ian's party. You were helping to move the PA for the  band. I felt it then, that feeling, the warmth, the way I lit up around you. You told me that Ed had divorced, sowed the seed, I guess, which would lead me to get back in touch last year. I remember saying that I had no idea how anyone stayed married. I was tied up in the rope of my own unravelling relationship, unable to break free, unable to breathe. You said later that you felt so sad for me and so sorry. You didn't understand how anyone could make me feel that way. How anyone could allow me to be so unhappy. You cherished me. You cared for me like I was a rare and protected species.  "You're special," you used to say. Not in the way any old boyfriend might say it but in the manner of someone who was an authority on the subject, like it was an inarguable truth. And yet, even though you held me so close, I could still fly. You were a free spirit too.
"I know my heart will soar with yours," you said. And it did.

I remember seeing you at the pub on that night back in August. It was August 10th, I looked it up. You were wearing a brown patterned shirt that was shiny and didn't fit you. It was a truly terrible shirt. I remember taking it in and wondering if I could fall for a man in such a bad shirt. I knew I was halfway there already. Turns out I could. It worried you, that maybe I didn't fancy you as much as you fancied me because I'd said I wasn't bothered if you cut your hair or not. The point was, not that I didn't think you were attractive, it was that how you looked was pretty much irrelevant to me. I was in love with your soul and your mind. You were the most beautiful man in the world to me regardless of your wonky teeth or your holey t-shirts. You can buy a man new shirts and I did. But you can't renovate a man's soul. And yours was perfect.

You used to call me perfect. I didn't like it.
"I'm not perfect," I used to say. "I'm flawed like everybody."
"Well, you're perfect for me," you qualified.
I couldn't argue with that.

I remember sitting in my living room. I was writing letters telling people that my mum had died, inviting them to her funeral. You had come late-night Christmas shopping with me. I had to buy presents for my children even though my mum had just died. You were assembling her Christmas tree for me. I remember looking up and smiling at you. You smiled back. We had these moments often. Where it seemed we were wondering what strange domestic idyll we had wandered into. Like the time when you sat by my side threading my needle while I sewed my daughter a mermaid costume, or that last perfect Saturday when we danced around each other in my kitchen, concocting recipes from my allergy-friendly cookbook - me making sweet potato brownies, you making turmeric tonic. We were completely content in each other's company, whatever we were doing. It's not a feeling I've had very often in my life.

I can't remember what I said while I was writing and you were arranging fake fern fronds around the metal stand, but I remember your response.
"Even if I wasn't completely besotted with you, I would still think you were special," you said. And then you looked away. "Anyhoo," you said, with mock embarrassment, returning to your task, both of us radiating with the warmth of it all.

I remember the way you made me feel. Special, perfect, cherished. I will keep that feeling with me now.

Paul - pausing for refreshments during the xmas shopping trip to Meadowhall. A very unusual setting for the Blacksmith.