Guest Blog – 5 years in 500 words!

I haven’t hosted Adam here before, but he is THE BOY that I keep talking about. Show him some love. 

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Time stretches back in the form of memories, highlights, edited collections of things we choose to retain. If you had just 500 words to talk about about the last 5 years what would you choose to include, what would you omit, what would you not even be able to recall? How do we select what memories are worthy?

I’d remember first and foremost meeting you, I’d recall with film like quality the first time our eyes met, our first conversation about the beer you were drinking. I’d remember shutting ourselves in as a storm raged outside, the tranquility we’d feel in shutting the world out. I’d remember following Stephen down remote coastal paths, as if on a voyage of discovery. I’d remember our first place together and how hard it was to get here to this point, sitting here now thinking of the last 5 years. I’d remember falling in love.

If I had to pick one unifying factor that encapsulated the last five years it would be travel and expanding horizons. When I went to Cyprus in 2010 I hadn’t been abroad for 10 years, since then I have been on a 3,000 mile European road trip that took in 9 countries, visited my sister when she worked in Germany, been to Spain twice, to Slovakia for my brothers stag do, spent a week in Bangkok and visited India twice before eventually relocating here in 2014. I always thought I had an adventurous spirit buried inside me that wanted to get out and see the world, and now here I am living in India, 5 years ago i’d have found that impossible to imagine.

My family has changed a lot over the last 5 years. The older generation, who were the rocks for so long have found themselves more reliant on the support of the young as time inevitably began to take its toll. In 2011 my Granddad died, I don’t use the words lightly but he was a great man, constantly supportive, always kind, always putting himself second to our needs. I draw inspiration from his memory as I try to make my way in what can sometimes be a vastly confusing world.

In July 2014 my younger brother got married. I think i’ll look back on the memories of that time as some of my fondest. Everyone important to me in one place, wonderful weather and true happiness, something that shouldn’t be underestimated in life, something that can be all too fleeting.

I’d look back to the 2010 version of me and tell him not to give up, that there are new experiences and unimaginable things ahead, that what perhaps seemed like a dreary existence wasn’t going to last forever. I’ve never been one for 5 year plans or planning the minutiae of my life, sometimes I have thought it has been to my detriment. But as I look back across the last 5 years i’m glad I just allowed things to happen, because allowing things to happen can take you to places you never imagined.

Reality Vs Writing Goals

I promise my absence isn’t due to my procrastination. Here is a list of excuses reasons why my writing has been benched.

1. My baby sister is pregnant (due in October). She came to visit us for a month in India during her 6th-7th month which, of course, was the harbinger of a tsunami of nightmares and worries. I wouldn’t even let her climb up to our first floor room because NO. Just, no!

2. I visited my boyfriend in England and also attended the wedding of his little brother. Weddings make me nervous. Especially big weddings with fancy cars and a bride and groom that look like they could be on the cover of a top fashion magazine. Fortunately, I survived without making too big a fool of myself and the alcohol stocks weren’t overly diminished. There was a side effect though – words ran away from me.

Ben and Mwila
Proof of the Magazine Cover Claim. Source? Stolen off their Facebook!

3. I had the most perfect holiday in the world. My phone didn’t work and I visited some of the most gorgeous places in the coast. For our anniversary, he rented a little cabin that was just so romantic, I started crying and he thought he had broken me. Aah good times!

Glamping
I learnt I don’t deal very well with romance!

4. Despite the fact that he lives with this view – I will take a moment to show you this view so you can feel my pain –

Millington
Damn you perfection! Damn to hell!

– the world has a rule that if you live in the 3rd world, it’s going to be near impossible to be with your boyfriend. I just don’t have the right passport. I imagined I would do a 2nd Masters degree in England but their asking rate £20,000 (not a typo).  That’s  £13, 000 for the course and  £7000 you have to show in your bank account so the government knows you can manage on your own. I applied for about a billion scholarships which all went to more worthwhile students of theatre or well, engineering!  So what is the actual price of living in England, you may ask? One year in England = 20 grand + a student loan at 15% interest per annum + a debt you have to pay for the rest of your working life. Bravo!

5. Gutted but not yet close enough to giving up (These silly youth people and their nonsense resilience!), we decided that we would try somewhere neutral. Maybe teach English in Asia somewhere. Thailand, China, Vietnam. The possibilities were endless. So we started making plans only to find that my passport can’t find me a teaching job because “Asians don’t want other Asians teaching their kids!”. Even if I did have the right qualifications and years of English teaching experience in India and Tanzania, a high school drop out who says should of instead of should’ve gets the job. It isn’t fair but that’s how the world works right now.

Not to fret dear folk, I’m not one to give up that easily (Pssst, anyone hiring a writer in Bangkok? I’m good. I promise!).  I noticed a trend in my writing – apparently all my life’s troubles happen around the time of monsoon – July – September and then I suddenly find my words again! I feel it starting to come back again. I have this amazing story about a haunted bar and time travel and sword play. I’m hoping the words will sniff out the nectar in that story and stick.

Until next time, big hugs!

The Unsent Letter

30 Day Writing Challenge

Dear Double D,

This is draft 478. The rest of the edits are locked somewhere in the far recesses of my mind. Probably. I can’t tell anymore. There’s a new feeling that drowns out everything else in my head and my heart now. I am happy.

The other day when you texted me about your new life – your new job, your fitness routine, your kids – I was genuinely happy for you. I did think that you were trying too hard to validate yourself but I decided to stop being judgemental. I was 2 parts shocked and 1/2 parts amused to learn that you named your kids what you said we should name ours. Your child’s favourite bedtime story is the one about me kidnapping a goat? I wouldn’t know what to make of that even if I tried. So I let it go. I like when you sound happy. I’ve never really wanted anything for you but the true joy of living. Everyone deserves it, right? This is not a lesson I learnt from you. But that doesn’t mean our relationship didn’t teach me anything.

When we would meet in secret, the wine tasted better, the night smelt better, our stolen kisses were more delicious. There used to be a thrill that comes from doing something no one else was aware of, like we were creating our own world. I was young and naive and believed in magic. You’d be pleased to hear that the love of magic is still there. The excitement of creating things together, even if it’s castles on passing clouds, it is alive within me. I have to thank you for showing me that love, like anything of beauty, shouldn’t be hidden. If it is, we’re juggling fake trinkets that look like love but aren’t really.

Because it was “our little secret”, there was no one I could talk to about it. Princess Pea knew, but then she has a great instinct about me. You wrote poems for me and played the piano on nights when I needed to calm down. You are and have always been gifted. You know how to speak to the heart and yet I learnt that as all consuming as love is, your friends and family are there for you and want to share in your life. Isolating them, as easy as it is, is a decision you will regret. I wouldn’t have learnt this if it weren’t for you.

I was never really angry that there was another woman. Or was I the other woman? We never really had that talk. You cut off all ties when it got too much for you. I never bothered trying. By then, you had taught me what it is to be strong and self respecting. I was confused for a few weeks and then instead of waiting and waiting, I started running. I started writing. I backpacked across Europe. Is there such a thing as reverse heartbreak? Maybe it’s just you who has this effect on people. When you called and said “Don’t go”, I realised you had genuinely loved me. I’m sorry you didn’t like that I moved on. It’s been over 7 years and when your best friend still teases me about how I made up the whole relationship in my head, I smile. I feel sorry for him. It’s not easy to live in deception. Not when you are someone’s best.

The “other” tried to talk to me when she found out that you married without her knowledge. You were still dating her and I never really got the chance to thank you for letting go of me so early into our wild affair. We did things that I heard you tell the youth from our church was not something “the Lord” approved of. I learnt that I never wanted there to be a day where I had to face up to my own double standards. The trick was to be true to yourself.  It was how things were with you that helped me realise what I wanted to do out of life and how I wanted my relationships to be. You’ve helped me in ways that I hadn’t suspected I needed. But oh did I need it.

I know my friends say I’m crazy for not hating you and for still thinking of you fondly. But I just can’t bring myself to be consummed with a feeling of self pity. I suppose I learnt then that life happens, people make mistakes, they hurt you. I learnt the best lesson of all from you – how to fully let go.

xx

_________________________

Draft 479

Dear Double D,

Thank you.

Love,

A.

Love is …

30 Day Writing Challenge

 

This will probably make you think of someone or remind you of yourself. Either way, you will spend a few minutes of deep contemplation in your head. This is for my WL – Happy Birthday you silly white boy!

Cartoon about what love is