Ouch.

I’m ill.

It started Friday with that prickly, tickly throat thing. By Saturday morning I was bed ridden – head cold, cough, temperature, sore skin and aching body. Everything hurts. You know the type. I’ve completed three lateral flows but they have all come back negative. So it’s just your usual flu. How nice.

I’m vain and sentimental enough to want to speak to Wildcard often as he cheers me up but not want to because I look awful. What a cruel world.

Yesterday I had ‘joined them for lunch’, as in, he had propped me up on the tea kettle, always looking at him. My favourite thing to look at. He turned to speak to his parents and whilst I had no idea what he was saying, I caught that face. The one with the twinkle in his eye, where he seems to speak from one side of him mouth in an almost cheeky mutter. He was saying something cheeky and funny. He then laughed.

I felt this absolute tsunami of love wash over me, right in that instant. So much so that there were years in my eyes. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to be with him, right there, right then.

He’s called me multiple times today. He’s laughed and joked at my broken voice but has been caring too.

Tonight, after what seems like 48 hours in bed, I finally got up and made soup and watched TV with my daughter. We are watching a series together.

In the scene, the hero stares lovingly at his girl. As he slowly reaches down to press a kiss on each of her cheeks, my mind was taken back to only a few months ago. I’d been stood in the doorway to his apartment as he washed his car. He finished, brought in the coiled hose and brushed up the last of the water. Closing the heavy door behind him, he turned to me, glancing up the stairs before grabbing me. He kissed one cheek and then the other. He kissed my forehead, my nose, my chin and finally…finally….my lips. It was the most romantic and loving thing he had ever done.

My London friend and I have barely talked for two weeks. I don’t know whether that says more about her or me. She’d never shown a dislike of him up until that time: instead helping to calm my anxieties and appreciate him for the good man he was. Not anymore. So now, we have nothing to talk about. She is now in the same bracket as my sister and my old best friend: people who have openly stated their dislike and distrust of him, with no evidence, so now we don’t talk as much.

Whilst a part of me will always be wary, will always doubt and question (partly because of my past history, partly because of my confidence and partly because of what I know has happened to others) it is a very very small part. I love him and trust him. I don’t believe you kiss someone like that unless you want to and feel something.

If only I looked this cute when ill.

Control

It is 7.22am and I am on my first train on my little solo trip to London. Last night, I wasn’t sure I would make it.

Considering I have had three hours sleep, I have to applaud myself for being on this train at all.

My trip was planned as a soul searching journey. I still am not sure what to do about my life. The end of August is creeping ever nearer and from September 1st, I am officially unemployed.

Whilst travelling alone, my initial plan was to meet a friend there. We would have lunch today and then go out for dinner tomorrow night. Saturday daytime I had promised myself a leisurely stroll around as many museums as I wish – no pressure from anyone else, I could stand and stare or avoid as I would choose. I had booked a hotel need Hyde Park and planned to stroll around there too.

I was excited. I love travelling: culture, history and new experiences. It invigorates my mind and my soul and it is what I need right now. At home, I can’t think. My mind is crammed with thoughts and ideas and worries and concerns. I can’t sift through it all to make actual decisions.

I watched a great TED talk with Tony Robbins this week. He talked about decisions and actions. I realised, much like what I have learned with Mel Robbins, that decisions are power. When we make a decision and see it through, we then control our life. Everything we do or not do, comes from a decision.

So, I’ve made the decision not to go to London for the weekend as planned but just for the day.

Why?

I’ve mentioned my planned and then booked London trip to Wildcard a few times over the past week. Our conversation about this has been limited – I know that when he listens but is silent he is thinking and processing. I knew he wasn’t keen on me going there for some reason.

Last night we had our usual evening call. Despite his bout of covid, he is recovering well and was in high spirits. Until, that is, I told him that I was getting the train early. He had forgot (not unusal) that I was going today. That wasn’t the problem. It was when I told him I was returning on Sunday that was the problem.

Before you judge, as I am sure you will, there are a few things to remember. His culture is so different to mine and probably yours. I have accepted that as I have accepted all of him in loving him. Next, for the majority of our relationship we have been blighted by Covid. He barely knew pre-covid me. The one who went on holidays with friends, day trips walking and sightseeing regularly, out for coffee each week. He knows the woman who has been at home for 18 months, my only travel being to him.

The ironic thing of course is that my new found confidence in travelling alone has come from him and my trips to see him. Going down to London doesn’t seem that big a deal after navigating layovers in Spain. When I don’t speak Spanish. And got lost.

Nonetheless, he wasn’t happy. He couldn’t understand why I would go and stay there alone. He was suspicious and jealous and confused. Why wasn’t I going with my family? Why wasn’t I going with a friend? I tried to explain needing alone time and also that none of my family have the same love of museums and galleries as me, but he just couldn’t get it.

He talked about the seriousness of our relationship – would I travel alone if we were married? I answered no.

My number one choice, every single time would be to travel to or with him. Without question. I can’t wait to see him again and to take my family with me. If we were married, I would have no need to travel alone. I would hope we would be travelling together. For him, my solo trip was almost an act of defiance against our relationship – a kind of declaration of my still-singledom.

In my culture, without a ring on my finger, I kind of still am. In his, I am not. We are serious therefore we may as well as be married. I probably knew that deep down. In a way, it is comforting to have it confirmed.

By the end of the call though, as he had calmed down, he repeatedly told me to go on my trip. He claimed he had been joking – he wasn’t- and that he knew I loved him so it was not a problem. He said that there would be a discussion if I didn’t go.

Within ten minutes of our call ending – me still in shock and not sure what to do for the best – he had messaged apologising. He told me to forget all he had said and enjoy my trip. I reiterated that I never had any intention of hurting him and I could cancel. Considering our relationship recently, the fact that London isn’t going anywhere, I would have done this. He repeatedly told me to go: there wasn’t a problem.

Hence, my dilemma. I had a decision to make.

Yes, it is my life. Yes it is my choice. But it my choice to be with him and my decision to spend my life with him. Was this trip more important than him? Definitely not. Clearly, next time there needs to be a much more detailed conversation before I book anything.

And so, I choose this compromise and middle ground. I go for the day. He had been relatively happy with that in comparison. I am still going so not completely bowing down but am nodding to his feelings. I’m showing him that I care and he is important.

So that is my decision. Emphasis on MY.

I wish this trip hadn’t coincided with a cake order, but so-be-it. I had made the choice to take on the order, knowing I was travelling. I finished what I could for 2am, slept until 5am and got up to finish.

You know what this shows? I can do amazing things when I choose.

Train number one..

I’m on the train, on my way to London.

I actually wanted to write more last night but was so tired after the previous night’s poor sleep.

There was a real air of romance and excitement in last night’s brief contact with Wild Card. He kept sending little Valentines’ montages of us and was affectionate. And that little nervous giggle we both gave at the end. Butterflies in my stomach moment. His comments about my sisters show some of his feelings and when I tried to play along and said I didn’t like him either, he said he knows I like him because of my eyes. I told him his eyes show it too. Perhaps not as obviously and frequently as mine, mind.

This morning I text him as I was waiting for my train. I told him I was nervous and excited and he asked why. At the moment, it’s because I’m travelling alone for the first time so that’s what I told him. He was reassuring and told me not to worry. Obviously, I’m also nervous about meeting him only because of what I’ve already told you… I want him to like me, want me, and vice versa. He is saying he isn’t nervous but, who knows. I think he probably is.

I still can’t believe I’m doing this. It’s exciting. Even putting those overwhelming feelings for him and this situation to one side, I’m going on an adventure. I’m doing something with my life I never thought I would do… Looking outside the box, taking a risk, being brave. I’m travelling alone. In the depths of my depression I couldn’t even leave the house. I’ve come a long way.