Well….I have already submitted an entry for SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY, but I keep thinking of special songs, very special songs. So I am going to share some of the most meaningful songs, the soundtrack to my life, to my saga with Jack, and songs that have special ties to my heart.
To me the poignant lyrics to this song make it one of the most perfect love songs in music history. Originally penned by The Waterboys, this Kristina Train recording takes me to places not many songs can.
This is the song that makes me think of Goldfinch, for many reasons, but especially now that the 10,100 miles between London and Adelaide seem impossibly far away. I often think of him. The memories he has given me are dearly precious.
This is our song. Jack and I have a special connection to this song. He performed it live and he said he was singing it to me. I had no idea at the time, but even back then I was choked up. It has become even more special since we finally got together.
This song captures the feelings we had when we finally did get together. We knew we shared the same dreams, we knew we were perfect for each other! The determination we both had to face any challenges, any cruelty, and trolling that came. We just wanted to focus on each other. So far it is working great!
This song for me packs in everything that makes love wonderful, including love. Love, love, love…it is the essence of life. This song symbolises the joy and beauty and wonder of love and life and make me want to drop to my knees and express my thanks for being alive and experiencing love!
As promised, Jack and I have read through the entire STORM IN A TEA-CUP Series and I have tried to edit out the typos. It’s hard to read. Jack and I laughed about some of our story, but we also found some of it hard to re-live. Still…all that matters is the happy ending!This was the first part. You may have questions, but remember there are more posts to come. And yes…this post is about Jack and me.
(Brace yourself for a little bit of a weepie…make yourself a cuppa before you read this one.)
He told me that what I had done was courageous. He said he and I should have talked along time ago. He said it was the right thing to do. I had already asked him once three months earlier, and he had made excuses. He said he should have made time to sit down with me and talk…he regretted he had not.
He suggested we sat down at our dining room table in the huge kitchen dining area. Then those life-changing words: “Would you like like a cup of tea?” That seemed like a very good idea. It would give me something to fidget with while trying to hide how terrified I was.
So, for pretty much the first time in three months he did something kind… he made me a cup of tea. With my tea-bags and my milk. He made two cups of tea, one for him and one for me. He even made it just the way I like it…stewed tea – strong enough to make hairs grow on your chest – with a tiny splash of milk.
Here is what followed:
He told me that he had been a coward and that I had been courageous.
He told me that he had never felt so close to another woman.
He said he was totally out of his comfort zone, that he had no idea what he was doing.
He wanted us to be friends.
There had been a lot of pressure on him. Many people had expressed their curiosity in the dynamics of our flat.
Many of his friends and co-workers had been teasing him for months that a romance would develop between he and I.
It had made him very nervous around me.
He apologised for his behaviour and he wanted me to know how bad he felt.
He realized he had made me feel awkward. He told me that had not been his intention.
He said I should never have been made to feel so uncomfortable in my own home.
He paid me extraordinary compliments…beautiful words I had never heard in my life.
My face must have been a picture. He used expressions I was baffled by!
The man I am telling you about had been making my life miserable for months. He had been hostile, grumpy, rude, inconsiderate. He had said some very unkind things about me to his workmates…some of whom sought me out and had told me what he had said.
Who was this capricious man? At that point he was my flatmate, one of them. Six of us were sharing a huge flat.
I remember him moving in one August weekend. I was nice to him and his friend who moved in at the same time and would be sharing a bathroom. I really was super nice. I went out, I thought the two of them would prefer to be on their own to unpack and settle into the flat. But before I left, I told them they could use my tea and coffee and milk. I even told them they could help themselves to some biscuits I had baked. That was a nice thing to do – was it not? How many neighbours actually do that nowadays?
We went to a party together that weekend. All six of us were invited to a party in the flat two floors above ours. So many at the party were curious about him moving into our flat. People seemed to be watching the two of us. I tried to ignore it. I tried to act natural. I think I learnt then that living with a celebrity can become a nightmarish experience.
I remember the first Monday morning…my other five flatmates were up early getting ready to leave the flat for work. I was on late shifts that week (2-10pm) so I did not need to get up as early as they did. But I had overheard him singing at the top of his voice while he was showering. There were only three inches of plaster between his room and mine. It made me smile even though he had woken me. We had not had chance to discuss rules…so rather than wondering around in my nightwear, I showered and dressed before I went into the kitchen to make myself breakfast.
I had a habit of opening the French doors of my room and letting fresh air pour into my room before I made my bed. I had left the door of my room open while I came into the kitchen.
I heard his voice…he seemed full of excitement to be in a new flat. Everyone had remarked we were going to be the coolest flat in the neighbourhood and they were expecting lots of parties. I was sitting at the dining table eating cereal as they were all leaving to travel to work. He must have stopped outside my door. He was asking the others where I was? Had I slept in? Was I going to be late for work? I called from the kitchen. He came to the doorway and looked at me with surprise. I told him I was on late shifts that week. He looked disappointed. He thought we were going to travel into work together. Maybe he realized that meant I would not be around in the evenings that week.
I think that was the last time he actually seemed happy to be in the same flat as me. For the next few months I would see him being friendly and jovial and laughing with our friends and coworkers. Then we would walk into the flat and he would ignore me. He seemed to be failing to suppress a strong dislike for me, because it was manifest in so many ways that he did not want me in the flat with him.
Looking back, I guess it was mostly external pressure that caused problems. People were saying some really shocking things. In the end I started to note down what I was hearing. It filled both sides of eight A4 pages…most of which admittedly was just teasing. However, a good portion was insulting, degraded comments insinuating he and I had a very “particular” type of relationship.
He was probably just as dismayed as I was at the comments people were making. It is hard to define the perfect way to handle that kind of challenge. How do you shut people down without fanning the flames of curiosity? I found myself saying things along the lines of that there was no possibility of a romance developing and listing the reasons why.
I used to laugh that putting up with a man whom you are living with but not in a romantic relationship with, means a romance is highly unlikely to develop. A flatmate who never empties the bins, (I am astonished that every male flatmate I have had believed in the magic bin fairy…oooh I am going to get myself in trouble with any male readers) leaves stacks of dirty dishes around the kitchen sink and is noisy, smelly and untidy…and who brings dozens of other single men round to the flat to add to the general man-stink of the place (apologies yet again to any male readers)…well, for fairly obvious reasons there is a distinct lack of warm feeling growing in your heart towards such a flatmate. I thought that was both a humorous and logical way to stop people from teasing me about him. My strategy failed.
I kind of blame him. When his friends and workmates teased him, his reaction was like a teenage boy at school. He said, “No way!” He said, “I think she has OCD, she keeps tidying up after me.” Even worse, he said, “She is a wonderful woman, but she is not attracted to me.” I don’t think it was deliberate on his part, but he was actually just throwing fuel onto the fire. The teasing intensified, the level of interest in everything that went on in our flat was shocking. Social media websites seemed to be making my life unbearable.
Some of his friends started stopping me when they saw me, to tell me what a nice guy he was and that what he really needs is a good wife who can match his mind but is also happy to tidy up after him. His manager saw me one day at the flat, and had a quiet word with me in the kitchen. He said to me, “So you are his future wife”. I felt tearful more than once because they were talking to me about a man who apparently was repelled by me. I did not want to let a bad word about him creep out of my mouth…but inside he had me in agony.
I think you would either be very entertained or very bored if I related more of the hundreds of comments that were voiced about my flatmate and me. As I mentioned, they range from cute to crude, from ridicule to outright rude, from droll to dreadful, from silly to slanderous, from vile to vicious. People seemed to be watching our flat, watching my ex-flatmate and I. If we looked at each other, someone had a comment or a joke to make. If we did not look at each other, someone else would pry as to what was going on between us. It was wearing me down and making me feel desperate, it was making him grumpy.
Sure enough, I asked him very early on if the two of us could talk about it and see what we could do to discourage all of the gossip. He did not seem to want to talk about it though. His behaviour towards me made life very uncomfortable. I did lots of nice things. I am a great believer that if someone has a problem with you one of the best cures is to cover it over with kindness. I did wash a lot of his dishes. I regularly cleaned up the kitchen after he had been a messy puppy. He seemed to use my tea, coffee and milk all the time, which I never made an issue of. I baked cakes and biscuits and always made sure he could help himself to them. I have tidied up after him, even picking his underpants up from the floor when guests were coming. I have cleaned his mouldy leaky food spills up from the fridge.
I do not try to subscribe to generalisations (even though some of them are frankly hilarious) – but he is the only man I have ever faced inordinate communication difficulties with – to my Martian flatmate, I really may as well have been from Venus. Or else, he had all the communication skills of a teenage boy (sorry to any teenage boys reading this, but on the whole it is true!).
He seemed to like those things, but he was very strange in his behaviour to me. Cold, hostile, silent. Despite that, I sincerely was pleased to have him as a flatmate. I enjoyed his noisiness, he seemed to be an unquenchable fountain of fun and life. It was great to come home and find so many people in our flat. I genuinely was happy to wash up and clean up and tidy up after the messy pup. I kept on trying to provoke a kindly warm attitude from him. It did not work…and it started to distress me deeply. I had never been living with someone who behaved as if they had a huge grievance towards me.
Finally, three months later, there we were. He made me a cup of tea and we sat down and had the conversation I gave you a few glimpses of above. Bizarre!
Just think, all I had to steady my nerves was a cup of tea that he had made me.
In case you are wondering whether there is a happy or a sad ending to this story…I have to tell you…that cup of tea was the beginning of the end of me:
I realize that sometimes bloggers may not realize just why I am so deeply grateful to have Jack in my life. I used to write about the estrangement with him when I first started out blogging, but a year ago the situation was reversed.
Jack and I had a talk recently about some of the posts (THE STORM IN A TEACUP Series) I published about him and I, before we ever made peace. He has read them all in the past.
I asked him if it was time to remove them. He did not see why I should do that. I told him that because I was a new blogger when I wrote them, they don’t look great. They need editing to remove the typos. He said that would be a good idea. Then I asked Jack if he would read my edited versions to see if there was anything he would prefer me to remove. So he did.
Then, after a flurry of questions about Jack and myself, I asked Jack how he felt about the possibility of re-publishing them. That may explain why I sometimes refer to a past drama between Jack and I. He wanted time to think about it. We shelved the idea for a while. But then Jack came back to me and said something that surprised me…why don’t we write a novel together with our story?
I will admit the thought has gone through my mind. But it would be very emotional. I could not do it on my own Jack has suggested we do it together. I was taken aback. It’s a project that we are going to work on little by little. We have only just started.
But in the meantime, Jack agreed that although we both have so many regrets about the past, our dramatic history is always a reminder to us of how special what we have is. It’s a miracle! So….we are going to re-publish the entire STORM IN A TEA-CUP series! These flashback posts will appear each Friday…just one a week. Some of the longer ones, I may break up into two posts.
The first will be published on the first Friday in October. We think they will last until the end of 2020. Please remember that what you are reading has a very happy ending, and also remember that there are situations that seem hopeless, but sometimes, completely out of the blue, something wonderful happens!
This has been an odd week for me. My pain was mounting over the weekend and eventually I had to up the ante with painkillers that are stronger than my normal poison. Tuesday and most of Wednesday are a daze to me, but Jack said he had some very strange conversations with me.
This is not what I wanted for this week. I had planned it the other way round. Rather than Jack having to take care of me, I had hoped to be making a fuss over him. Jack has been lovely this week. I felt safe. I felt safe with him being here.
One year ago Jack said something to me that changed everything. We’d only been talking for a couple of weeks (after four years of estrangement), but he wanted to tell me how he felt. Only he was struggling, mostly cautious because he had no idea what I was expecting. He did the kind of thing I would expect a teenager to do…but then Jack is a teenager trapped in a man’s body.
We were in his car…a familiar strum of guitar chords. I remember Jack trying to hold eye contact with me, but I was turning away and looking out of the window singing the words to myself. That’s when he reached for my hand…
“I don’t believe that anyone feels the way I do about you now”.
“There are many things that I would like to say to you but I don’t know how“
“Maybe you’re gonna be the one that saves me“
❤ Happy Anniversary Jack! ❤
Sorry I have been unconscious or doolally most of this week. I will make it up to you! I want to live forever by your side.
Little by little I have been scrutinising and correcting the three novels in my LEARNERS AT LOVE series. I have lost track of how many times I have updated the manuscripts of each book. I am so pleased with them. I loved carefully reading Annabelle’s story again. I read part of the third book on the train journey up north, and Jack laughed at me when he saw tears trickling down my face. But it is emotional! I love the way Book Three developed.
Now that I am happier with the three books, I am going to start promoting them more. I have told my family that now I am happier with them, they can tell their friends about them. I am going to get some Vista-cards printed advertising them and I am going to visit local independent book shops and local libraries. Jack has given me lots of ideas. He also now has permission to promote them,, but subtly. I don’t want them on his social media pages, but I said he can mention the books to people he knows, but only when it is appropriate.
He said people might want to buy the books as gifts in coming months. I must say, I do find that exciting. We have so many friends who love reading and the thought of them reading Annabelle’s story sends flutters into my heart.
I love the characters, I have been living with them in my head for eighteen months already. I love Annabelle, but I also love Chris, Dean and Robin. I love Burt and Pearl. I love Gina. I love Ralph. I love Stephen and Fiona. I love Maggie and Angharad. All of my friends who have read the books so far come back to me and tell me who their favourite characters were (most love Dean Mathers!) and what they thought of twists and turns in the storyline. I love receiving feedback. It makes something that was very personal something I can share with people I love.
Jack and I were able to spend a couple of days working together as volunteers the other day. Due to social distancing restrictions we are not allowed to have as many volunteers on one project. However, we were able to see some of our friends/colleagues and we had a great time catching up with them.
It was nice to be doing some manual work outside. I have been stuck indoors and dealing with a mix of patients and paperwork – probably more the latter than anything, which is just the way things are now in the health service.
I am feeling happy because I was working with Jack. People definitely see us as a couple now. That means so much. Around a year ago…Jack and I were meeting for the first time in over four years. We made peace…less than a month later we made love. Three months of secrecy before we started to let family and close friends know.
Somehow 2020 has meant that we could grow stronger without being in the spotlight. People have had better things to worry about. He and I have been together for almost a year and for anyone who might not like that…well it is too late for them to ruin it.
I have wanted to find ways to give to Goldfinch recently…for being wonderful. I feel so helpless from 10,100 miles away. So I have been racking my brain to think of little ways I can show him I think of him all the time.
I sent him a very sweet Australian gift – a large dark chocolate connoisseurs collection box from Australian chocolatiers Haigh’s. He probably did not want a big box of chocolates. But I sometimes don’t know how to light up his day from so far away. It is a big box. I hope he will share it with his friends and family and think of me.
How do you give someone a hug from 10,100 miles away? It is so frustrating!
I recall years ago someone telling me that life is like a symphony. A rich tapestry of high notes, low notes, cascades of rhythm, a beat, a pulse, and a chorus that repeats itself over and over. Sometimes you sing alone, other times accompanied who make up the grand choir of your life.
I am loving this part of the symphony of my life. Jack has been like an incredible dramatic crescendo of music, an explosion of notes. Every instrument in the orchestra is playing full blast with him. I like that I can bring the sweetest Melody to his life 🙂
It’s very exciting. Perhaps he will have to stay here for a while now. We will see!
Jack is going to be with my family and I for a celebration, a family party. This time last year that would have seemed impossible. One year ago. we were still estranged. So much has happened in the space of a year.
It’s absolutely marvellous!!! Sometimes when my mind races over how a situation that seemed dire was completely reversed, I experience a rush of exhilaration. I saw the picture above on Pixabay and thought to myself…yes, that’s how I feel. Being with Jack for around eleven months is astonishing and wonderful!