Hiding The Bruises

incognitoI am alright now, (I think) but for a long time the situation with my ex-flatmate Jack kept my nerves on a knife-edge. I know there are some people who make a career out of being the subject of idle gossip for others, but that has never been something I wanted for myself.

Even when I was living with Jack, the rumours about the two of us were so upsetting, I tried to leave the flat earlier than anyone else and arrive home in the dark. I was sneaking in and out of my own home, to escape the attention of whoever it was who kept these shocking rumours breeding.

When I returned to London, after almost a year of resting and recovering from the physical injuries I had sustained the night I was assaulted (and then…being left for dead underneath some bushes) I was pretty nervous.

Although my physical injuries were healing up nicely, I was deeply self-conscious in so many ways. I was very nervous around men. I was very aware of my head! I felt secure with a hat on, or a bandana or scarf in the summer. I found London overwhelming. I felt very lost at times. I found bright lights gave me severe headaches. I always wore sunglasses out of doors. The first six months, I was hiding myself with hats, headscarves and sunglasses

But what I found effected me most deeply was gossip. I saw friends and colleagues. They were confused about why I had disappeared for a year. Many of them thought I had left in disgrace. Just before I had been attacked, there were rumours that I was involved with a married man. I don’t really feel like writing about that today, but I will at some point. There are already a couple of posts where I have touched on it already:

embarrassedBut it has taken a long time to be able to battle the anxiety that other people, people I admire and respect, think terrible things of me. That realization has made me pretty dismal at times.

I could have caused trouble for Jack. I did not want to do that. I could have talked about being assaulted (I find it really difficult to use the R word still) and beaten up. But you know, I really did not want to. If I started talking about it, I would have been asked a thousand questions by people that I was not ready to answer. So instead I let them think whatever they wanted to think.

As far as many of them are concerned, I was acting strangely, sneaking in and out of my own home at unusual hours, becoming cagey and defensive and emotional…and then I disappeared for a year. I returned to London wearing hats and sunglasses (with style!) and not answering questions openly.

I am a lot more settled than I was then, more relaxed about everything, and my friends are more relaxed. They all seem genuinely glad to have me around and everyone is very polite about what has happened in the past. Some of my very close friends know a lot more about what happened of course, and when I need someone to talk to they are wonderful. But on the whole, everyone has been so incredibly discreet about what happened to me, which I am extremely grateful for.

But there is a kind of loneliness that comes with having a big secret that you hide. I hide all the details of what went on between Jack and I. I hide all the details about what happened to me in the park. People know not to push me with too many questions because I will leave.

Aaaaah!

Well…I have said enough for today. It takes it out of me thinking about things that I don’t want to think about! So, to end this post I wanted to share a song that I fell in love with, mainly because I have become such a huge fan of the voice of Kristina Train. But I liked the song too…it does touch me in my situation. I have put two versions for you just in case you prefer the acoustic version. I like both actually.

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/daily-writing-challenge-nov-27/

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/dismal/

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/your-daily-word-prompt-lost-november-27-2018/

FOWC with Fandango — Leave

I Suppose I Did For Five Minutes…But That Was Over Three Years Ago

Four years ago, I felt as if I could not go home, because I did not want to see Jack ever again. I was out with friends, and instead of going home, I went to a park, sat on a bench and cried. The next morning I woke up in an ambulance. I don’t think I want to think and write about it…any of it. I just want to enjoy my time with Goldfinch. Think of me…right now…in his arms…please be happy for me. 🙂

forest-2823910_1920

Will you forgive me for not being to keep up with every writing prompt that has caught my attention recently?  I have so many that I have started and are sitting in my drafts folder waiting for me to finish them.  Some I am determined to complete at some stage.

I loved the writing prompts in the August Write Away Challenge hosted by Sarah Elizabeth Moore

This is one of the posts I didn’t want to give up on:

When I lived in our family home, which for most of my childhood was with my parents, my brother and my two younger sisters (my older sisters are so much older, they had left home to go to university by the time I had started school) I never ever wished to run away.  I felt truly at home.  There were occasional challenges, but I was blessed to be reared in a haven of dependable love and trust.  Here is a photo of happy me…with my hair in pretty much the same state as this morning!

However, I left home in order to be able to work as a volunteer in a part of the country where there were a stack of projects and not many volunteers (partly because the cost of living in that area is so high).  Although the first year was hard, because I missed my family and friends up north so much, it did not really take me too long before I started to feel at home down south.  I made many wonderful friends and fell in love with the countryside.  I ended up living on the grounds of a beautiful stately home and being allowed to roam their gorgeous estate, and because they trusted me, I paid peanuts for my accommodation, which was another fortuitous factor in my volunteer career in the south of England.

 

Moving to London to become a full-time international volunteer was like a dream.  I had a rare opportunity as a single women to be chosen from many thousands who submitted applications.  That year there were two single women and sixty single men who met the criteria. Because of the physical demands and difficulties in the various challenging assignments, the number of single men vastly outweighs the number of single women. The physical, emotional, mental tests they put you under are designed to reveal if you really can take on a self-sacrificing role and if you really can be sent anywhere in the world and adapt to any way of living.

It was like coming home…even though I had been happy before.  I was happy on a different level. Everything felt right. The routine, the dignity, the rewarding work, the huge numbers of people I saw and worked with. I found I didn’t miss receiving wages. My main assignment would be in London, but at any point I could be sent elsewhere. I loved the astonishing variety London life offered. I found that I was thriving in this life-style.

celebrity.jpgHowever, as you may be aware if you have read some of the posts that relate to what crushed Caramel, it was here in London, that I faced a challenge the likes of which I had not faced before. It was no joke, though I think a lot of people were laughing.  If I can blame anyone or anything…I would like to blame “celebrity culture” and the puerile use of social media.

Sometimes it all feels like a blur, but it was two and a half years at least and it wore me down. The point at which I reached my limit was when rumours started (I think I know who started them) that I was having an affair with a married man, the husband of one of my close friends and workmates.  I was devastated (because this is not me).

After my friend and workmate, who was as distressed as I was about the rumours involving her husband, screamed at me within a public building in front of crowds of people, I was called into an office with two directors who were concerned about the incident and wanted to understand what was happening. They mentioned Jack. They knew him well and thought that he and I had gone from a romance to estrangement to bitter jealousy. I refused to discredit Jack.  I stood my ground and insisted that he was not to blame (although in my heart, I was certain he was).  They made it clear though that they wanted us to sort this out because they could not have anyone screaming in rage in the middle of a reception area were scores of visitors had been appalled by what they had seen.

More than ever, I wanted to talk with Jack and ask why, why, why was he doing this?  But all I received for months was glares and grimaces.  He made it clear that he was nursing a grudge.  A grudge that I could not comprehend.  Then that summer, I received some very concerning news about a relative who had become involved in a criminal court case and was featured in the news.  That situation deepened my anxiety and stretched me to the limit as I did all I could to help practically.  The last thing I needed was abject hostility from a man who was still sleeping in a bed just metres away from my own bed.

elevatorSo after seeing him frequently and feeling intensely shunned and despised by him…it was that evening when I was going out to meet my friends and I pressed the button for the elevator. The door opened and there he was.  His eyes full of disdain.

There was no way I was going to be able to stand inside the elevator on my own with him. So I took a couple of steps back and let him carry on alone.  That’s the last time I saw him close up. That was the moment I decided I wanted to run away from my beloved home to escape the nightmare.

I enjoyed the evening with my friends, but there was a huge surge of pain and despair that I was hiding from everyone…one of the girls who lived near me wanted to drive me home, but I said I would like to walk as it was still light. And walk I did, but in the opposite direction of home. That was my moment of running away from home. I walked towards the local park. On the opposite side of the park a fairground had popped up that weekend and there was a carnival atmosphere amongst the people I passed on the way to the park.

It was a beautiful summer’s evening.  It had been one of the hottest days of the year. There were joggers and dog-walkers and teenagers sitting in the grass talking and laughing when I arrived and when I sat down on a bench.

I was so consumed with despair, I did not notice that daylight had fled completely and there was no longer anyone else in the park, until a stranger sat down on the bench besides me.

Here is a strange coincidence about that location.  When I went back to that spot some time later (not on my own) I found my front door keys still there. Which was the most strange feeling. I didn’t find my missing shoe…navy with a slight frill detail above the toe, but I found my front door keys. They had been lying there undisturbed all that time. Even the police must have missed them.  I almost felt as if they had been waiting for me. It was a profound encouragement to me!

Over three years later, I still have not made it back home yet.  But I am working towards it!

FOWC with Fandango — Number

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/09/22/your-daily-word-prompt-fortuitous-september-22nd-2018/

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/09/22/carnival/

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/09/22/three-things-challenge-22-sept-2018/

When It’s Time To Say GoodBye…I’ll Be Waving Up At The Sky

We now have a leaving date! When I say “we”…of course I don’t mean we, I mean he. Goldfinch has booked his flight back to Australia. The plan is for him to spend some time here in London with me, just before he travels, and I will be with him right up to the last minute, when he says goodbye to fair old English shores.

I do understand security concerns at airports. But it is so hard having to say goodbye near the check-in gates and not be able to wait with him in the departure lounge. Not to be able to wave to his plane as it takes off. It just is not as romantic as the olden days.

In all honesty, it may be a good thing that I am not allowed past the check-in gates, I might be tempted to throw myself on the floor and grab hold of Goldfinch’s legs to stop him leaving me!

No…instead…I will have to be content with watching Goldfinch vanish behind a wall. And that will be it…GONE! Not knowing when, if ever at all, I will behold that beautiful smile again.

sky.jpg

There is no way I will be able to pick out the aeroplane carrying Goldfinch far away from me. I will be looking up at the sky waving at every plane, (just in case) until they disappear without a trace.

I am going to spare you a dramatic description of the stab of pain that will gush into my heart at that point. I felt it once last December when he went away for five weeks to spend the holidays with his family. There is no doubt in my mind that is going hurt more this time round. But I have known this moment was coming for over a year. So now is the time to be brave, to muster all my strength and help make every moment wonderful for Goldfinch.

Last December, I walked out of the terminal in tears. But as I made my way down the escalators to the Piccadilly line of the London Underground, I started hatching a plan to surprise him based on every little scrap of information I had heard him mention.

This time round…aaaaaaah! I think I will finish this post before I become too weepy.

 

 

 

 

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/11/08/daily-writing-challenge-nov-8/

FOWC with Fandango — Trace

Shamelessly In Love

Last night I was waiting at the station for Goldfinch to arrive…I spotted him before he saw me. He was right behind a man who was walking up the steps slowly. As soon as I saw Goldfinch my face started to beam. Only, I think that the man in front of Goldfinch thought my smiles were for him. Because he started looking at me and smiling. He came through the barrier and started walking towards me. By then Goldfinch had seen me and cut through the crowds and reached me first. Thank goodness!

Aaaaaaah….isn’t it funny how everything seems to sparkle when you are walking hand in hand along London streets with a man who has the ability to enchant you and who makes your heart go booom booooom!

I had the chance to do something with Goldfinch that I have not done all year. This might sound daft, but I savoured every moment. I have always said to my friends, that I would rather share a bag of chips at a bus-stop with a man that I loved rather than be wined and dined by the wrong man. So for the very first time since I met Goldfinch, we bought some chips from a traditional fish & chip shop and munched them while we were waiting for the bus back to the little nest.

Aaaaaah! So happy! So very very happy!

Perhaps you have thought the same as I…that if only it were possible to bottle up that kind of happiness and save it for rainy days.

Goldfinch had to be back for work again today. So yet again I experienced 3.15am. The second time this month. Travelling across London on public transport with fellow passengers who seem to be fast asleep although their eyes are open.

Did I care I was leaving a warm snuggly bed to venture out into the chilled morning air? Not when I had Goldfinch holding my hand. Not when I was able to dance with him in the misty moonlight looking down over us. Not when I was able to sit close to him on the bus and feel his head leaning against my shoulder.

Aaaaaah! So so happy! Hot chocolates for us at the station before he boarded, and then all I could do was hang on to the last moment waving and blowing kisses to my Goldfinch, who had fallen asleep the moment he had relaxed into his seat. Still I received a wave and a blown kiss from some guy who obviously thought I was making quite a show of myself.

Shamelessly in love! Shamelessly happy!

 

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/10/23/your-daily-word-prompt-enchant-October-23-2018/

FOWC with Fandango — Public

 

Where Will I Be Without Him?

 

faded love.jpg

Since I said goodbye to Goldfinch in the early hours of Monday morning (which is less than a week ago, although it feels like much longer), he has been in Belgium and he is very soon on his way to Italy. Any day he will call me to say his flight is booked to Australia.

There is a lot he would like to squeeze in before he travels back to live on the opposite side of the planet.  I cannot blame him.  I am thrilled for him really.  I love him, why would I ever resent him seizing every opportunity life throws at him?

goodbyesI have a feeling in my heart, more like a dread, that the next time I am with him, it will be the “Goodbye” I have known was coming for a whole year and am so mournful about now that it finally has drawn near. I saw a quote when I was thinking about losing Goldfinch.  It said “How wonderful to have someone who makes saying goodbye so hard”…the jury is still out on that one!

It will be goodbye.  I am not going to explain all the reasons in this post, but maybe at a later date, I will explain why I am convinced it will be a real goodbye.

For now…I am starting to contemplate where I will be without him? Where I was before? Lost? Lacklustre? Reticent of love? Reluctant to allow hope any room in my heart?

I have had an entire year of warmth and vibrant joy and have been very much in love. Goldfinch found me just over two years after I had been the victim of a crime that has changed my life.  It was just over a year after I had returned to London. I was a bit of an ice-queen…determined not to let anyone else break me. Goldfinch became my shelter from the storm. I have to be ready to brave that storm again.

For now, I am trying to hold myself together so that Goldfinch does not comprehend the depth of my grief in losing him.  Once he has gone, then I will crumble.  Until then, he will only know joy and delight with me.

And now you see, I find a new appreciation for all the posts that have been inspired by him. How pleased I am that I have been writing about him. They will be a memorial to a lost love.  I may crumble, but I have an abundance of pages recording my year of joy and love and warmth that will remain intact. I am so pleased to have a treasure of pages to reminisce about the man that brightened my life and warmed my heart this past year.  Homage to my ray of hope.

I was lost…

…but it didn’t matter when Goldfinch found me.

I had broken wings…

…they didn’t hurt so much when Goldfinch started to fly with me.

If you know a little about opera, then I am sure you will understand why I am posting a link to the song below…one of the prettiest of love songs in the opera world.  If you are not sure of the story behind “Un Bel Di”, it makes an interesting read on a Sunday and will delight you I am sure.

If you ever have chance to hear it sung on stage, you are in for a treat! The haunting echoes of the orchestra ricochet around the theatre making the hairs stand up on the back of your neck!

nascosta (in bold type) means hidden

Un bel di vedremo
levarsi un fil di fumo sull’estremo confin del mare.
E poi la nave appare.
Poi la nave bianca entra nel porto,
romba il suo saluto.
Vedi? È venuto!
Io non gli scendo incontro. Io no.
Mi metto là sul ciglio del colle
e aspetto, e aspetto gran tempo e non mi pesa
la lunga attesa.
E… uscito dalla folla cittadina
un uom, un picciol punto
s’avvia per la collina.
Chi sarà? Chi sarà?
E come sarà giunto?
Che dirà? Che dirà?
Chiamera Butterfly dalla lontana.
Io senza dar risposta
me ne staro nascosta
un po’ per celia e un po’ per non morire al primo incontro,
ed egli alquanto in pena chiamerà, chiamerà:
“Piccina mogliettina, olezzo di verbena,”
i nomi che mi dava al suo venire.
Tutto questo avverà, te lo prometto.
Tienti la tua paura, – io con sicura fede l’aspetto.
GIACOMO PUCCINI – as if you didn’t know!

 

 

 

FOWC with Fandango — Shelter

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/10/14/your-daily-word-prompt-vibrant-october-14-2018/

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/10/14/ricochet/

Song Lyric Sunday Theme for 10/14/18

Next To Me Where You Should Be

night bus.jpgDid you know that there was a 3.15 in the morning?  It might seem hard to believe but, there really is!  I only know because this morning, I left my sweet abode to accompany Goldfinch into Central London where he would board a coach taking him far away from me.

The roads were completely silent right up until we reached the heart of London.  Well we saw foxes. Goldfinch loves foxes. (Ha ha – I think I already knew that!)

Hand in hand with the Goldfinch, dancing in the moonlight waiting for the night bus, singing every romantic song I could think of into his ear.

Standing there until the last minute so I could wave goodbye to him as the coach pulled away from the inner court of the station, and then running outside onto the main road so I could see the coach pass. Standing on the pavement waving at him…but he was looking down at his phone, so the coach-driver probably assumed I was some crazy lady waving at him.

night Big BenMaking my way back across London to my little nest.  Gazing up at the sky – pink and blue…the same colour as me.  Flushed pink with adoration and affection for my Goldfinch, blue once I have parted from him yet again, knowing my time with him is flitting away at an alarming pace.

Climbing back into bed and breathing in his scent on my pillow. Letting a few tears trickle down (I didn’t let my eyes leak once while I was with him) and deciding the only thing to do is to send him a text message “I LOVE YOU GOLDFINCH”…and then drifting away into sweet sleep. Wishing he was beside me, and we were all set to hibernate together for the winter months.

Opening my eyes realizing he is not there.  He should be, he should be next to me.  But he is already miles away, probably on his way to work by now, back to the grindstone, back to routine.

Goldfinch…should be always next to me.

 

 

 

 

FOWC with Fandango — Routine

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/10/08/your-daily-word-prompt-hibernate-october-8-2018/

Flying With Goldfinch

G-g-g-g-g-guess who is coming to see me this weekend?

I have cancelled all my plans for Goldfinch…and I am not one bit sorry.  It’s such a trial trying to stay patient while I am waiting to share moments with him.

I can’t wait for the moment he arrives in London. I am going to try…it might not work, but I will try to throw one or two surprises into this weekend for him.

I will try to make him as happy, even a fraction as happy, as he makes me!

 

 

 

FOWC with Fandango — Trial

He Is Like A Dream

Moments with Goldfinch…which will soon be memories of Goldfinch…which will be like dreams.  He and I walking hand in hand through autumnal forest, finding ourselves quite alone in an enchanting glade with golden rays of sunlight streaming through the canopy above.  How beautiful to share those moments with Goldfinch, how beautiful my memories, how beautiful my dreams!

On Sunday, Goldfinch said he wished I was just down the road so that whenever he wanted he could come over and chat and hold me for a few hours.

At the moment he is a two hour drive away (but because we both tend to use the train or coach to travel, it works out closer to three hours).  It is hard to explain the excitement that builds when I am about to see him again. Hearing his Australian tones utter the words “Hey Gorgeous!” and his arms wrapping around me….aaaaah! (I know he should get his eyes tested, but we won’t worry about that right now!)

But then there is the agony of saying goodbye and having to make the journey back to my little abode without him.

Long distance relationships are not easy…I know at least one other blogger who totally understands this, as she explained her situation in a comment she sent last week.

You end up dreaming your life away because you miss each other so much. I guess I am going to have to get used to this…in the near future…two or three hours will seem like nothing.  10,100 miles is a lot further than 110 miles.  I have a lot of dreaming ahead of me.

I am sure there is a limit to how much you can tolerate of me publishing posts about my love for my Goldfinch…but remember, he is going soon…and then I will be profoundly sad…and I will surely be writing mournful dirges and odes to my long lost love.

 

FOWC with Fandango — Limit

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/glade/

I Only Wanna Be With You

There is one man on the planet right now who makes me excited and loved.

To me, Goldfinch is the quintessence of man!

I quite simply love him!

Sometimes he seems to have too much on his plate, his head full of worries.  He has a very demanding job. Even I get annoyed at the ridiculous and radical requests of his seniors at work. When he has finally finished work and goes back to his digs, he has little space to himself, as he shares a house with other professionals.

He loves his head being rubbed…I love massaging his head (don’t know what I am doing, but he likes it).  I sometimes wish I could hold him tight and let all his worries melt away.

I love him so much…I wish I could hide him away from the rest of the world in my little nest and not let anyone mither him.  Aaaaah gorgeous Goldfinch…if only I could make life and work easier for him.

 

 

 

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/09/30/quintessence/

FOWC with Fandango — Radical

What It Means To Me

The definition of the word “enrapture”
according to the Crushed Caramel dictionary:

 

Me waiting for Goldfinch at the station:

Me when I finally see him arrive:

excited

Me every moment he is with me:

in love

 

 

 

 

 

It’s nice to be a pretty lovebird in love with a stunningly gorgeous lovebird!

You do realize I am not going to be able to sit down and concentrate on a serious post until I am parted from Goldfinch!  You are not going to get much sense out of me this weekend.

And my Goldfinch and I will be “cheap cheap cheaping” and “tweet tweet tweeting” for the rest of the weekend…

love birds

And I am dancing around finishing off my house-work this morning, so excited about being with him again!

 

 

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/09/29/your-daily-word-prompt-enrapture-september-29th-2018/

FOWC with Fandango — Cheap

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/09/29/stunning/