Dare to dream

I wake early, just as the morning light is starting to glow outside the window. I stretch and feel the warm strength of the body next to me. I turn carefully to see the night black hair and beard and caramel skin. I inflate with love as I breath him in.

Cautious not to wake him, I gently remove him hand from my waist and he turns over in the movement so I can see his toned back. I smile. I’m so happy.

I get up and dressed then quietly leave the house, dog bounding in front of me. The morning is warm but there is a cool bite to the breeze.

I return 30 minutes later, relishing in the fresh air and the warmth to my muscles. I feed and water the dog and jump in the shower.

I’m still amazed that I’ve managed to keep the weight off. I’m definitely not perfect, but I’m fitter and slimmer fitter than I’ve ever been. I dry off and wrap the towel around me and go back tonight room.

He’s still asleep. As I towel dry and brush my hair, I watch him knowing that I must wake him soon. I moisturise my body and just as I reach down for my underwear, I hear his voice deep and sleepy, calling my back to bed.

I crawl in next to him and I feel so happy, excited and content as his arms circle me, our legs entwine and I feel his soft, soft kisses. Before long, we are making love.

Too soon, we are getting up. Whilst he showers, I go down and make breakfast and put something in the slow cooker for later.

He comes down and I inhale when I see his black hair, wet and brushed back. He teases me and we laugh. I hurriedly drink tea whilst he eats before I leave the house for work.

I arrive home before him. I check our dinner, before changing and doing some chores. He arrives home and kisses me sweetly before changing and lying on the couch.

Just before dinner is ready, he gets up and sets the table and we sit and eat together, talking about our day. After clearing up together, we both sit on the couch, his legs in my lap. I catch-up on a few emails whilst he plays on his phone but after half an hour, he calls his parents. I speak to them briefly, missing them, and telling them that we will be over to visit soon. I leave him to talk to them and go upstairs to put away some washing and freshen up.

Before long, he has followed me upstairs and he grabs me, kissing me and slapping my bottom in jest. He changes and we lock the house before getting in the car.

He loves his car. It’s one of the first things he saved up for and it is his pride and joy. We drive for around half an hour, music playing with words I think I will never understand, and arrive at the seaside town.

After checking and double checking he’s locked the car, we start to walk hand in hand. We stroll towards the beach and walk along the promenade in the fading light. I know people look at him – I love to look at him! – but the squeeze of his hand and his jokes and laughter make me know I am the only one for him.

We make our way to a bar and sit outside drinking soft drinks and talking and laughing. Soon we are heading home.

As I put a load of washing om, he takes the dog out. When he returns, we lock up and head to our bedroom. He turns on the TV as he lies on bed and I sit and take my makeup off. I then get in alongside him, and read a little, my head resting on his chest. My eyes begin to droop and so I put my book down and kiss him softly. He turns off the TV and we kiss a little before I turn and go to sleep: he puts his headphone in and plays on his phone whilst I sleep.

I wake in the morning to his body holding me tight and his hands caressing my skin. We make love again, slowly and luxuriously, and then I reluctantly get up to shower.

I make coffee and take the dog in the garden whilst I drink it. Before long, he joins me outside and drinks his tea whilst we plan the day ahead.

He takes the dog out for a run whilst I prepare breakfast and call my children to check when they will arrive.

Once again, we eat together and then he goes to clean his car whilst I prepare a picnic. My son arrives during that time and I sit and listen to him whilst I finish preparing.

We have a wonderful day out. I love watching him with my son and the relationship they are building. They are friends and I am so happy to see how relaxed they are – that is until their competitive side comes out!

We arrive home late in the afternoon and the pair of them go on to the xbox whilst I start preparing dinner. During this time, my other children arrive with their other half. The house is filled with laughter and talking.

He helps me prepare the rest of the food and we cook together, listening and laughing at the sibling taunting. Finally, we go outside and eat around the table, nightlights glowing in the garden and the smell of honeysuckle in the air.

As the night turns to chill, we return to the house. My daughter and her partner leave but the rest of us play games for a while before we all return to our rooms.

When I wake in the morning I am alone but see the coffee waiting for me on the bedside table. I can hear him talking to his brother on the phone downstairs amongst the shouts of my son reacting to the game he’s playing. I lazily walk downstairs and am greeted with breakfast and a kiss. We eat and then I get ready for the day.

My family soon arrive and its all hands on deck as we prepare a huge dinner for us all.

As I prepare, I watch as he teases my niece and nephew or talks to my sisters. I feel so much love for everyone here right now. And happy – I’m so, so happy. Life isn’t easy and we have our ups and downs but I knew this moment was worth waiting for.

Days 7 and 8: little

It’s the little things.

Grabbing my hand to cross a busy road and then moving me so I’m not on the side where the cars are.

It’s shouting me to come see a funny video he’s just watched.

It’s asking me if I’m tired/ok/good when we are out.

It’s checking I can swim – by making me demonstrate – before allowing me to properly swim alone in the sea.

It’s checking with the restaurant that the food won’t contain gluten.

It’s driving for hours just to show me all the beaches and beautiful places he knows I will love.

It’s sandwiching my hand close to his body when I grab his arm in a crowd.

It’s going to find a chair to sit with me outside when he was probably more comfortable on the bed.

*****

It’s late on Day 8 and I’m pretty tired.

I’ve had a wonderful couple of days. Yesterday we woke at 5.30am, ate, packed the car and set off on a road trip. Wildcard drove for hours and hours to show me some famous and stunningly beautiful cities in his country.

Today, we went to the beach and then he continued his tour, showing me a gorgeous marina and then taking us out for a dinner of fresh sardines and salad.

Tomorrow, I think we are moving on and he’s told me that we may go the long way back, taking in a few more places on the way home.

I’m so glad we have another week.

Positive v negative

“Well son, I’m afraid life doesn’t work like that. You will have problems every day and you have to learn to deal with them.”

Oh yes.

My parent-wisdom words, no doubt regurgitated from hearing them myself as a child.

Is it wisdom though? Am I teaching resilience there or perpetuating negative thinking? As in, they’re not problems but a natural part of day to day life?

April has been a ‘problematic’ month for me.

I came home from seeing Wildcard, exhausted after travel and heart ache, and threw myself into work. Then a moroseness swept over me. And flu. So my solution was to stay in bed for four days. Yes I was ill, but equally I was down.

I got better, but within a week I was ill again. The annual, ‘Is it hay-fever, is it a summer cold’ debate resulted in a fever induced covid test which of course, turned out positive.

I’m grateful I didn’t have it as bad as some. But it was bad enough, despite my three vaccines. Head cold, fever, tight chest, aching limbs and neck, cough and absolute fatigue. As the days went on, a temporary well feeling would be quickly met with a need to go back to bed. My re-test only became negative after 8 days, and whilst I could have followed ‘Government’ guidelines after 5 days to return to work, as I am sure they are banking on, I couldn’t face going and infecting someone else.

Unfortunately, morals don’t always pay and I will be missing a week’s wage in what will already be a tight month. I will survive. And that is positive thinking for you. Or possibly sheer dumb avoidance. I can’t change the situation either way and it could be worse. Maybe karma will send me some better luck.

Of course, positive thinking doesn’t immediately help my daughter when she has been ‘dumped’ by another 18 years old who has decided after months of sweet talk and pursuit that he doesn’t want a relationship. It doesn’t help my son who is still waiting for his ASD diagnosis or not as the case may be. In these situations, a dose a negative actually does the world of good – in life, it seems that things always be a lot worse more often than a lot better.

This is my current and forced train of thought over the booked but no longer required trip to see Wildcard in the May Half term. As both sisters and my daughter are away themselves, there is no one to house and pet sit. I haven’t really got the money to pay for train tickets and a hotel and Wildcard didn’t even know I’d booked and nor has he asked if I am going. So, I’m not.

No, I haven’t yet tried to move the tickets and yes, I have longingly looked at my flights and train ticket prices. But it’s impossible at the moment so I need to just get over it.

On the plus side, one of his brothers is finally going over after three years (covid) and as this was one of the stipulations for Wildcard deciding that he is ready to let his parents fend for themselves so he can marry me, I guess this is another occasion for trying to see the positive side.

Trip 4: days 5-6, hands

Well, once again I am writing from an aeroplane seat, waiting for take off. I’ve struck lucky – only me on my row! It’s 7.40pm in the evening and I have a 3 hour flight before a hotel stay and early get-up for the train home.

I’m calm, I’m happy. That’s good isn’t it? Unfortunately, life has also taught me to be guarded and anxious, so let’s see how long this lasts.

I left off writing after a passionate post-argument making up session. Perhaps less said about that the better. Wow, will suffice.

Saturday morning, day 5, Wildcard came into my room and all was well. As it always is. I commented that his parents had got up early, and he replied that we would go out for the afternoon once he came home from work. I was surprised and happy and wracked with guilt about the argument the night before.

We had a wonderful day as we always do. He drove for hours and hours, taking me to much loved places. We took selfies with each other, photos with his parents and ate slices of sugar sweet apples as we travelled.

On the way back we went to his local city and walked through the market. He bought a jacket with some money his brother had sent him and I smiled as he tried it on, heart-warm from how handsome he looked and how much he wanted my opinion.

As we walked through the busy market, crammed with colour and noise, sellers and buyers, I clung on to his hand frightened of getting lost and heeding his warning.

He is never comfortable when I hold his hand and I have never understood why. I thought it must be his culture or perhaps he just doesn’t like it. He always holds my hand when he needs to keep me safe though. Later, tired after a long day and hugging each other as we waited for dinner, I again attempted to hold his hand and snuggled as close as I could get. He sleepily asked, ‘What are you doing?’ And I replied I was getting close to him. Turns out all the times I’ve said that and haven’t always got the response I wanted, was down to that he didn’t know what it meant. Equally, when he went to pull his hand away from me, I asked him why. His response surprised me and made me realise that we all have our hang-ups. He hates his hands, thinks they’re small and like a woman’s, and I recall a conversation long ago when he said that a girl had made an unpleasant comment to him about them. I told him he and his hands were perfect to me, which they are, and not feminine at all. They’re slender, yes, but definitely male. From that point on he did not pull away when I held his hand.

Bolstered by this honesty and acknowledging his sleepiness – a natural antidote to his tendency to greet meaningful conversations with humour and teasing – I went for it. Be proud of me WordPress. I told him that next time I come, I want to get engaged. He was shocked, surprised and jokingly pushed me away (antidote not working as planned). I tried not to get upset – he was joking after all and I figured an out-right no would have been said with more seriousness. We’d had a great day and I wasn’t going to spoil it by pushing further. We were called to dinner, ate, and I happily, and uneventfully, said goodnight without a murmur of sulking. I had learnt my lesson.

I woke early the next morning, having dreamt unpleasant dreams of my old school, forgetting and failing and then a fire that spread through my town as I raced through in a car I owned 18 years ago.

I messaged him and soon he was there.

I don’t pretend to be particularly experienced in the bedroom. I have had a conservative amount of partners but more than the four serious/semi serious relationships I’ve had. I’ve had good sex and bad sex, and a spectrum of in between. What I have never experienced, is what I have with him. He has had less partners than me, is younger, and yet somehow makes me feel something so uniquely wonderful it makes me question why anyone would have one night stands. And, yes, I have had them.

We had a good breakfast and I counted the hours left before my departure. I didn’t pack, nor did I go for my shower and eventually he asked why. I didn’t want to leave, pure and simple. Whilst my children are my blood, he is my heart.

We sat on the previously ill-fated sofa and he jokingly asked whether he was able to play his game and I laughed and agreed, as long as he told me he loved me. His brother then called and Wildcard spoke to him for a little while. Once finished, he told me about the problems his brother was having with his wife: her jealousy, control and sometimes violent behaviour. She’s Irish and according to Wildcard, has a mental health issue ‘with papers’ to prove it.

I listened in horror to what he told me. His brother is almost a prisoner – not allowed to leave the house without his paranoid wife, unable to call his family more than once a week, and all his wages going in to her account as she does not work. After three years, his brother still does not know the area or how to get out of the situation he is in.

One the one hand, we only have his version and I only have Wildcard’s but I have no reason to disbelieve him. I can understand the jealousy to a point (I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t) but what she is doing can not be making either of them happy and she is definitely hurting his brother and his parents – and why anyone would want to hurt them I don’t know.

Somehow, Wildcard being afraid of marriage and wary about the move to the UK started to make more and more sense.

To be continued.

Over…

Annoyingly, this post would be much better in context. I started and finished a post two days ago but never published it. I explained my last post and my negativity. I expressed my absolute love of Wildcard.

Yesterday however my relationship was over. Almost.

Before I get into why, I have realised something. I am, as a person;

Often overwhelmed

Always Overthinking

Frustratingly Over weight

Frequently Over planning

Resulting in being Over tired

I really wish I wasn’t.

Yesterday I had made tentative plans to meet my London friend for lunch. Due to some unforseen circumstances, it didn’t happen. So we chatted as normal. That’s when she told me that Wildcard had sent her a friend request, that morning, on Facebook.

Some context here. Wildcard wasn’t happy when I went to visit her in London. He wasn’t happy when he discovered – accidently – that she and I discuss a lot about our relationships. He doesn’t understand our friendship. He spoke to her briefly when I was in London and I have sent a screenshot of her profile during a conversation. He knows what she looks like.

Some more context. It was agreed between us (after some naive, innocent but silly actions where I really annoyed him) that if friends or family contacted us through social media we should discuss with each other before accepting. This is what he did when my mother made a friend request.

So, you can imagine how I felt. Why had he done this? Did he know who she was when he sent the request? Is he doing this to other women? Is he spying on me through her? Does he not trust her? Or me? Is it a coincidence that he does this on a day we were supposed to meet up (and looked unhappy about it)?

She offered to proceed how I wished – add him and test him to see what he would do. I refused. To set a honeytrap is showing distrust. I didn’t do it when I first met him and I’m not going to do it now.

In the end, due to my overwhelming emotions and anxiety, I contacted him and had it out with him.

He claims it was an accident and he didn’t intend to do it.

We argued over his whole social media profile, and not for the first time. Being 9 years younger than me, he uses social media in a completely different way than I do. It’s not a way to connect with friends and family but a means to an end – he wants to build his profile and make money from it. He has never hidden this. He has never hidden his profiles or pages. I know there are thousands of women on his sites and he has told me about them. He is a handsome man. And he isn’t the only one who has pages like that. Doesn’t mean I like it though. I hate it.

We’ve also discussed the fact that I am a hidden relationship. His culture doesn’t believe in dating. What we are doing is against the laws, culture and religion of his country. I know this. I know this is why I am absent from his social media – just another name amongst thousands.

But being told by someone else that his pages look like ‘a dating site’ and that I am noticeably absent was heart wrenching. So I brought it up- even though I knew why – and listened to his reasons again. I told him I was nothing. No one knew about me – we are not ‘serious’ as in not engaged so I am nothing.

I could go on and on, just as the conversation went on and on. There were two further conversations about the situation. The upshot is, he maintains he accidently sent her the friend request, that he has never hidden his plans for his social media accounts or the number of women on them. He repeatedly told me he loved me and wants to be with me. He is certain about me. I’m his only one. But he admitted, again, that he is uncertain about his future and is reluctant to have to start again at zero.

Unwillingly at first, I discussed this with my close family. They believe his reaction to my planned trip and the timing of the friend request are no accident. They feel it is likely that he was checking her out either because he doesn’t trust her (which he doesn’t) or to find a vantage point to check I was doing what I said I was. My sister even thought in checking out her page he may have accidently sent the request. My daughter agreed having done this herself. This sounds like him, to be honest. Controlling, yes. Paranoid and wary, absolutely. But then, so am I.

During the day there were two moments where I thought we were over. I didn’t think I could ever trust him again. I don’t know if I believe his story even now. My London friend certainly doesn’t. She thinks he is a player and a liar. I haven’t heard from her all day.

The other was when we were both angry. Neither of us wanted it though.

But I’m not over it. Not by a long shot. There is a heaviness in my soul now that hasn’t shifted all day. I’m tired and miserable. By the end of day yesterday, I’d had all the confirmations of his feelings I have longed for. My London friend would say that he knows how to talk me round.

He may have contacted her because he was interested in her.

He may have contacted her by accident as he prowled her account.

He may have contacted her to check up on me, in the hope she wouldn’t recognise him, as she posted pictures of our day together (something I don’t do.)

He may have contacted her to add further numbers to his social media.

At this moment it’s hard to know the truth.

My heart was ripped out yesterday. It’s easy to believe the worst when you are anxious. It’s even easier to believe the best when you’re in love with someone.

I don’t know if I will get over this. My London friend thinks he has wormed his way back and I will forgive and forget. Maybe she is right. Maybe my family are right. Either easy, what I know for certain is I won’t forget about it. This isn’t over.

Maelstrom

Exhaustion.

Change in weather – it is cold and rainy here.

Messy, dirty house – courtesy of my daughter.

Menstruation starts after 40 days – PMS, period pain and fatigue.

Menstruation starts – part of me didn’t want it to start.

Be it my period or over eating, I’ve put weight on. I can feel it.

My settlement money has finally arrived. It is less than I thought (courtesy of tax, thank you). I don’t know what to do with it.

I’m missing him. I’m missing him. Everything. His sounds, his smell, his touch, his taste, his love. I’m bereft.

I don’t know when I’m going back.

Time

The days have continued to be eventful but weirdly, I have been relatively calm.

I’ve got into a nasty habit of checking in on three apps multiple times a day. Probably boredom. Facebook, WordPress and my email account.

Occasionally, when really bored, I will watch some of the weird videos on Facebook. I say weird, but actually, I found my favourite motivational speaker on there: Mel Robbins.

So, two days ago, and I don’t know how else to explain this, I watched a series of videos and read a series of articles that made something shift in my brain. It was a combination of posts and videos from different motivational speakers who actually said a similar thing. It was about taking action on your dreams and the power of visualisation. It made sense. As a depressed or anxious person, you dwell or ruminate on the negative. Therefore you feel negative. Such a simple concept really and not one I haven’t read before but somehow the triad of approaches made something click.

The articles I read were actually about narcissism. I hate the way society jumps on a bandwagon and there seems to be an obsession or trend with narcissists and red flags. Anyway, following my London friend’s query about whether Wildcard may be narcissistic, I had to look into it.

He does have traits – maybe we all do – but not all. I don’t believe he is a narcissist, nor am I qualified to label him, but again the fact that he had traits made something shift in my brain.

So that evening, in the silence created by the dying embers of his sulking, I decided to broach the subject of the summer. If you remember, I have my original flights for August – the ones I booked months ago before my impromptu trip in July as he had spoken of us travelling maybe. I have one week to change them. So, I broached it.

He was shocked, bordering on contemptuous. I could tell you how this disagreement covered two days but I won’t bore you. I will try to be succinct.

He couldn’t understand why I wanted to come back so soon. When I reminded him of what he had said, the ‘come when you want’, the ‘come next month’ and the travelling, he denied it. After some miscommunication resolving, I understood the following:

  • ‘Come next month’ was said to me when I was upset to calm me but he never expected me to actually do it.
  • The travelling trip was an either-or. By coming in July, the possibility of the trip was cancelled.
  • He didn’t want me to come in July and had always wanted me to come in August.

There was talk of it being too soon, he needed to relax between visits. He said his brothers may be visiting and he may be travelling with extended family.

I didn’t cry. Can you believe that? I was strong. I was angry even. I was…more like myself. It was also my turn to sulk. I told him he clearly didn’t miss me like I missed him. That I had assumed he would want to see me whenever we could, like me. That I clearly wasn’t that important to him.

He said it had nothing to do with missing me – if that was the case, he would want me there every month. He talked of needing to ask his parents again and I told him not to bother. I’d had my answer.

Of course he did anyway, and they were happy for me to return though it was clear he still wasn’t and the call ended on a sour note.

However, ten minutes later, he had messaged me apologising. His parents had apparently shouted at him for not letting me come. They were happy for me to come. He said that he would speak to his brothers and let me know. I told him that if he didn’t want me to come so soon, I wouldn’t. He replied that we would speak tomorrow.

I still didn’t cry. Sure there were times when my eyes threatened it, but I didn’t cry. I am not sure I can explain why. It is possible that because my mind has been consumed with him and dreams of our future, the thought that this may not happen has contributed to my anxiety. Perhaps the realisation that he isn’t perfect, that maybe he does have narcissist traits and that this had led me to feel this way (both good and bad) has cleared my mind a little. The realisation that actually, my imperfections may not lead my to losing the man of my dreams but a man I had dreamed about and idealised. That it can be his imperfections which may end it, not mine, has contributed to my mind shift.

Yesterday, after work, we spoke again at length in an attempt for me to understand him. He was stressed and agitated. He reiterated his parents liking me and being happy for me to come. But then proceeded to both explain why he thought it was too soon but also to tell me that he would speak to his brothers.

In summary, what I have gathered is, me coming causes a certain amount of pressure and stress which is not unwelcome but he wants a break. I also think there are financial implications which he hinted at but denied when questioned. It was an either or – July or August – and the July trip caused him a lot of worry about me. He feels a return in October or November is better but if I want to come I can come at the end of August. He said I wasn’t thinking of him and his family and only of myself and my desire to be with him. I argued that I only thought I could return so soon based on his words which have turned out to be false in an attempt to calm me.

Despite his determination for me to understand him, he has repeatedly said he will speak to his brothers. I keep telling him I won’t come.

In a weird way, this has kind of cleared the air and eased my tension. I can’t pretend I’m not a little hurt, but my anxiety has eased. The truth has settled my overriding ruminating.

In discussions with two of my Facebook friends, we have all concluded that he just needs more time for whatever reason. He wasn’t ready to talk about our future and he is not ready for me to come regularly. Despite his courteous assurances that I am family, I am in fact still a guest and I knew that really.

I’ve done that typically insecure thing of jumping on a suggestion, a possibility, letting my desires and dreams take over and then panicked when they didn’t come into fruition. They were my dreams, not his. We haven’t got to the point of discussing and deciding upon our dreams together.

This morning, it is like the world has shifted. We have gone back to normal, back to the way we used to be – an hour’s call of me laughing at him and him laughing because I am. The pressure has lifted, and if I am being honest, it is the pressure that I had applied.

I’m some ways, and this is real far out thinking, I feel like we have passed a test almost. One of my biggest fears has always been that I am like his exes – completely in love with him whilst he is happy but with no real intentions. I am aware that each of his exes hit the point of demanding a decision, a formalisation of the relationship. Every time he has ended the relationship. In a sense, I have done the same thing. The difference is, he hasn’t ended it. I know I am different to them. And this has now confirmed it. But at the same time, I must not make their mistakes and chase and pressure him. I need to have faith in our relationship now and let time to what it needs to.

He needs time. We need time. And at last, I don’t see that as a bad thing.

What I want

I’ve heard some hard truths over the last few days.

That I’m being too patient, too nice. My belief that he is too good for me is clouding my judgement.

I’m a simple person. I’ve never desired riches or designer brands or fancy cars. I believe in working hard, family and showing/sharing love.

In a relationship, fancy restaurants and expensive gifts whilst gratefully received are not the be-all. Something simple which shows thought is much more valuable.

I’m well aware of my flaws. I can wish I was more beautiful or thin or intelligent and I will work to be the best I can be. But I know that I am just an average girl. It is who I am.

I want someone who sees the beauty in me, who will tell me I am beautiful even when I wear no make up and need a shower.

I want someone who will give me the gifts of love and care and respect and forgiveness. To feel loved and wanted every day, no matter what I’ve done wrong or what mistakes I’ve made. To make me feel appreciated and needed.

The only man who has even got close to showing me that much love is my dad. And my dad is gone.

Life is so unfair.

I can’t remember the last time Wildcard told me I was beautiful. I can’t remember the last time he said he wanted me or missed me without me asking.

In being angry with me, in sulking with me, he took away the only thing I’ve asked for: his love.

Am I not worthy of that? I ask for so little but even that is too much.

Time and time again I am let down by men who take my love for granted. Men who fail to see, until it is too late, that just because what I want is free and simple to give, it still requires effort.

And this is why I don’t feel good enough.

He is probably 98% back to normal now but there is still a lingering tension in the air.

My friend is adamant I’m giving too much, forgiving too much. But I don’t know any other way to be. This is who I am.

Day 12 – thinking and honesty

Is thinking dangerous? Would I be happier if my thoughts were as simple as the life I led?

Or do we miss something by living in the moment? Do we fail to see the bigger picture, the rest of the puzzle, whilst we scrutinise the one piece, engrossed in all its colours and intricacies?

Now for honesty. At least to myself. You may have worked this out days ago.

I came here for many reasons. To escape my life and problems at home. To see my boyfriend after 16 months. And to confirm my future.

I’d hoped, that this second longer trip would clear the uncertainty, either way. Please do not assume that I excepted hearts and roses. I expected a frank and honest conversation. I expected to discuss issues and make a decision on how, and if, to proceed. I wasn’t expecting a proposal but I was expecting a discussion about its possibility.

Part of the difficulty comes from our different cultures, and the modern fluidity of his. On the one hand, me being there at all with him and his family is a sign of the seriousness of our relationship. He has said as much himself over the months. Whilst we have tried to be respectful, his parents must be aware that he sneaks in and out of my room morning and night. They leave us alone, albeit briefly, when they shop. They’ve seen him rest his legs in my lap, him tickle me, heard his playful slaps on my bottom. They’ve seen our glances and smiles and playful looks.

On the other, the fact I am there at all and they know these things show the modernity of their thinking. Are they accepting of the seriousness of our relationship or are they modern enough to accept that it might not be the case?

If Wildcard was of a different nationality or even religion, me being here after nearly two years together would mean less. I expect a serious discussion because of his culture.

For whatever reason, he can’t tell me the extent of how he feels. I know he loves me. I know he cares for me. But I don’t know how much. I sometimes think he is scared to admit his feelings. I sometimes wonder if his feelings are as deep as I would like.

Whilst his lack of in-depth discussion worries me, I am comforted by his touches and kisses and concern. Today, when he came home from work he was unwell. I sat with him as normal until it was clear he was asleep. I started writing this post and, realising I too was sleepy left him to rest whilst I retired to his room. Half an hour later he arrived. He shut the blinds, took off his shirt and legs entangled, we fell asleep together.

Putting his culture aside, surely by now he would know if he wants to be with me? And if he didn’t, given the opportunities our long-distance-covid-affected relationship has given, he could have moved on quite easily and painlessly. He hasn’t though. He has dealt with my fear and my tears and disappointments and he has stuck around. He has asked for nothing.

And yet, he has given nothing either. No insight into his heart or his feelings.

So maybe I have to accept that this man loves me, but not enough.

Underwhelmed

You never thought that I would write that, eh?

My state of being seems to be constantly overwhelmed although I do an amazing job of ploughing through it 90% of the time.

So why the title? Allow me to explain.

Today is the three year anniversary of my dad’s death. It’s a weird one, because I actually count yesterday too. On the 6th June 2018 we made the decision to end my dad’s suffering and take him off the respirator which was prolonging his life. He was tired, bruised and had suffered for two weeks in attempt to pull through. He was staying alive for us. Fighting, but ultimately losing.

That day we said our goodbyes. And then my sisters and I stayed with him all night, watching him fall unconscious, singing to him, talking to him, loving him the best we could at his bedside. So although he died at 1am on 7th June, we lost him on the 6th.

My eyes are stinging as I write this, but there are no real tears. Maxed out antidepressants will do that to a girl. If you remember, a month ago when all the crap with work started I was reluctant to up my dose – defiantly not wanting work to be the thing that put me on max dose. Honestly, I’m still not sure I should have agreed – I’m not the walking zombie I was four years ago. But I have taken them and today I am coping.

The fact is, for the first few years, every significant date seemed like a massive hurdle, a tsunami of emotion. Today, I realise it doesn’t matter what day it is. I miss him every single day. I wish he was here every single day. So the date is irrelevant.

Except of course it isn’t. And I probably will cry at some point. But, I’m not the mess I was last year, or the year before.

And I’m convinced dad sent me a little gift last night. Late at night I received a message from a friend telling my that Wildcard’s borders are finally opening and that at present, the UK are on the list for entry.

You know I believe in the power of coincidences. And for me, at this time, being told that is a gift, a message….

Life changes. It has its ups and its downs. It ebbs and it flows. And you just have to ride the waves, keep your head above water and keep swimming.

Being honest though, the underwhelmed title is less about me and more about Wildcard.

Last night, whilst morosely but stoically remembering the pain of my dad’s passing, I was also filled with an excitement and happiness about the news. (As someone with anxiety and depression, I am a pro at feeling conflicting emotions at once.) I went on to Ryanair to see the flights and allowed myself to reach in to the now no so distant future to when I can fly to Wildcard.

So this morning, I was even more looking forward to speaking to Wildcard. I sat, drinking coffee and attempted to complete a painting I had started of me and my dad. Up until this week, I haven’t had the strength to finish it (thank you antidepressants).

So when he called and we had got the daily ‘good mornings’ and ‘how are yous’ and ‘did you sleep well?’, I waited for the moment…

‘So, do you have any news?’ At this point he is in the car driving to work. He is a little late, as always, and 19 months in, I know the exact moments of his drive to speak and when to wait whilst he manoeuvres out of a junction etc.

He hasn’t mentioned the borders. Maybe he doesn’t know yet?

So I tell him.

“Ah yes, around the 15th I think.”

So he did know. And that was that. No hasty discussion about when I was coming, not even excitement that it won’t be long until we are together.

I was stunned. There was a few moments of silence.

“What baby?” He glanced at me as he drove.

Maybe this isn’t the time. He’s driving, he is late for work. It is my Dad’s anniversary. His friend died yesterday. We are still on amber.

“Nothing, I’m ok.”

And so, today, that is what I will settle for. An underwhelming ‘ok’.