Everyone said no don’t do it. They warned me against you. You were a young widower and therefore bad news. But my heart which had been poorly served in the past, said yes. So I said yes. And we went out. And I remember when you brought over speakers and hooked them up. And you said here, this will sound great. You’ll actually be able to hear now…and then you fixed my broken tv, my broken VCR, my broken door and my broken heart. Everything around me was broken. It took a few weeks but you said can I kiss you and I said yes. Even though I was so nervous. And it ended with you jauntily telling me you’d teach me how to play darts. This was before you found out I had hands like sausages and a perilously short attention span which could make learning darts potentially very dangerous.
We felt subversive. Love tumbling here and there. Adrift but necessary. We sat in the theatre. I wanted to hold your hand so badly. I couldn’t think straight, I barely knew you. We went for drinks in the lobby and I asked you your last name. And you told me. And I rolled it around in my head – exotic and new until it made itself at home in every nook and cranny of my being.
You slept over. Two neurotic people. And the next day you brought your fan. The only way you could sleep and it became friends with my fan. The only way I could sleep.
We were rearranging ourselves for love. Pushing and pulling to create space, to make us bigger, we were gardening our broken hearts.
But at times it was tough. I was the offspring of at least one pathological liar and a mama who loved white lies. Lying felt necessary and normal. I lied without malice. But I lied now and then. I joked about it with my therapist. The art of spontaneous lying. Hiding your heart. Voiceless. It felt theatrical to me. Like being on stage except in real life.
But you, honest man, required honesty. So I told you the truth with my eyes closed. And we practiced the truth over and over and over again. With big things and little things. And each time you said okay. Let’s see this through. And then we would make tea and carry on.
Truth is a funny thing and it’s something I might never have known if I could never speak it. I might never have known that someone could see me in my craziness. In the stranded-ness of my life. That my lifeboats , around me for so long and so necessary since forever, were lying lifeless around me. Slowly they drifted away. I told you I needed lifeboats, I said. And you said okay. One day you won’t need them. And he was right. One day I didn’t.
I’m not sure what ‘growing up’ means. Maybe it means leaving behind the craziness of childhood hurts. Of not knowing how to want good things. Of not knowing I had a centre, that I was even a person. Of not thinking I deserved good things. Of thinking that I was so different and that I only deserved different and bad things. Maybe growing up means not having to let go of being silly, and crazy, and being spontaneous but having the strength to grow into yourself and having someone who loves you who wants that for you too. It’s that simple. Sometimes people say love makes you a better person. There was a time when I wouldn’t know what this meant. But I do now and I have my friend (and husband:) Dave to thank for that.