Monday, 10 October 2016

Keeping on

I was looking through your photos yesterday, searching for a photo for my blog, when I came across the photos that you took last year at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. I noticed the date: 10th October 2015. It was the day we properly got together (for the second time). It was a year ago today.

I notice every month when the 10th comes round. The 10th is the day that you died. Seven months today.

I notice other anniversaries too, noticing often what I was doing this time last year. Today is one of those for another reason. Tonight I am reading with other writers in The Red Deer pub as part of the Off the Shelf literature festival. I read there last year with the same writers. Last year I read from a romantic novel that I was writing, smiling at you in the audience, proud to have you there cheering me on. Tonight I will read from my grief blog and try not to notice the gap where you were. I have switched from fiction to memoir, in a relationship to single. Narratives aren't always under the writer's control.

I miss your support during this festival season. Last year you were my groupie, my cheerleader, my photographer and my chauffeur. You even helped me choose my outfits for my book launch. You were so proud to be with me and I was so proud to have a boyfriend who, for once, was behind me and everything that mattered to me. I introduced you to my friend, Anni, who shook your hand and told you fiercely, to 'look after Beverley.' You promised that you would. You did. You were neither overly-impressed nor threatened by my writing, just loving and admiring. You were the perfect writer's partner.

I remember the conversation we had about my writing and about ambition. You said you were glad that I didn't need you to be ambitious because you weren't sure what to be ambitious about.  'I've never seen myself as a front seat sort of person,' you said. 'and nor am I a back seat sort of a person. More the kind of person who makes his own seat.' I loved that about you. In the same conversation you said that you knew that big things would happen for me in my writing career and that you were right behind me. Or maybe you were alongside me. And maybe now, you are somewhere above me, in your own seat. 'Keep on trucking, girl,' you said. I will. I do. Even without you. And even though I don't recognise myself in the photos from last autumn, I know that the optimistic author is still in there somewhere and that one day she will return. You helped me on my way, Blacksmith Paul. Thank you.