I have a relationship in my life – a friendship – with someone I am very very fond of. Recently, I was at a dinner with Jack and some other guests we have known for many years…and my friend (who I believe had drunk a couple of glasses of wine at that point) began talking about me.
She said about me:
“She’s like a little canine pal – totally loyal, always pleased to see me, will let me say anything without over-reacting, and is always happy to go out for a walk.”
I was a little baffled at her description…but I think it came from a kind place. Jack has been teasing me about it ever since.
Something happened on my way out of work last week. One of my colleagues noticed my engagement ring and asked me about it. I panicked. I did confirm that since the end of October I have been engaged to be married to Jack. But I started waffling about the drama we have faced in the past and my reasons for being discreet about our plans for the future.
I guess I panicked because over the past eighteen months, I have felt scared to lose this wonderfulness. I have genuinely felt afraid that something awful could tear Jack and me apart again. I know a lot of it is psychological – but there are a range of safety guards and defence systems I have put up to keep my relationship with Jack intact.
Some of that includes just not talking too much about our life, and not allowing people who don’t know him know who he is. I know that some people do the most crazy things when excited by the thought of being within reach of a celebrity. I am hostile to anyone potentially ruining our happiness or jeopardising our security.
The colleague who saw my engagement ring is a very sweet and lovely person – I adore her. Yet, I panicked. I panicked because I have learn from the past seven/eight years of knowing Jack personally that other people are unpredictable. I cannot control their behaviour. In the past some people who I adored and thought were kind people and thought were my friends ended up contributing to the spread of false and harmful gossip about us.
I guess it is because I cannot control what other people do, that I fight to keep some control myself. It’s not nice, but hiding, being discreet and even secretive, and retaining strict control on how much information about my personal life I am willing to share – it makes me feel safer. I know it runs the risk of alienating lovely people. But I have a wonderful network of people who know Jack and me and I feel safe within. I am super careful of how much I share with anyone who does not already know us.
There may come a time when it no longer matters – like maybe when Jack and I celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary maybe? Until then – I think I am going to be guarding my precious relationship, one that was salvaged from a terrible shipwreck and then lovingly restored. Jack and I have something that many would have thought impossible. I am not going to risk that.
Jack has made me happier than I would have ever imagined. This time last year, I thought 2020 was going to be wonderful…and I know that technically it has not been particularly a great year in general…but, it has been marvellous for Jack and I, as far as our relationship in concerned.
Now….we are starting 2021 with a lot to look forward to.
No matter what happens…and please don’t think I take anything for granted, I am at peace with Jack, and almost at peace with the past. Despite all obstacles, my life partner, Jack, is on the same page as I am. We are working towards a clean earth, full of thriving creatures. No matter what governments do, no matter what agencies they use, no matter how pervasive propaganda becomes, we are going to keep our eyes focused on the wonderful!
I asked Goldfinch recently if he would teleport over to me here in London so I could spend some time with him.
He suggested it might be greener than air travel, however, he said that teleporting technology might also be risky because it could allow crackpot dictators to beam nuclear weapons to different places. I replied that is of course why we need to get rid of crackpot dictators, so that we can enjoy the benefits of inventions without all the bad misuses.
Anyway….we were just waffling (if you hadn’t already figured that out). But I have been feeling that way recently. Don’t worry, there is nothing wrong between Jack and me – quite the opposite in fact. I am thinking of Goldfinch because it is coming up to exactly three years since I met him. I am also thinking of him because he is special to me.
Jack is sitting me down for serious conversations about us and the future – which is good – but sometimes I want to be with a friend who supported me through a lot of heartache.
Goldfinch was the one who was there as I emerged from the cage of fear that was holding me back and started to take braver steps. I wish he was around for the big stuff in life.
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.
He found me growing like a flower in a meadow, completely oblivious that he would take me as his and display me as his in a tall vase.
He left me in tatters. I still don’t think he understands he robbed me of my joy in life. He taught me that being in a relationship is not always as happy as you would hope. It can make you crumble from within.
Now he wants to carry on as if nothing happened. Has he forgotten already? He doesn’t know what guilt is.
(It’s ok, I am talking about someone in the very distant past.)
I did everything you asked of me. I gave my all. You made the decisions, you took the lead. I complied. You controlled every aspect of our relationship. You told me what to wear and how to style my hair. Everything had to revolve around your schedule. I was the one who had to cancel my plans to fit in with what you wanted.
I tried so hard. I bent over backwards. There was nothing more I could have done. There came a point when I realized you were playing games with me. You wanted a toy. You wanted an ornament. You thought you could use gifts to make me comply with your desires.
Ending my relationship with you was a brave decision on my part, one that you could not understand. You have never really accepted it. You tried to interfere with my relationship with Goldfinch. It was as if you resented me wanting to be with anyone else accept you. Now you have the nerve to mock Jack. DON’T!
I am not yours. I was never yours. You wanted me…but on your terms. They were terms I could not agree to. I made the decision to end our relationship because I am not an object.
I am a woman who works hard and has a busy schedule of her own. I choose to put a limit on my earnings and live my life with few possessions. It is my choice to work unpaid for charities. I don’t do it because I have failed at anything. I do it because I realized long ago that the economic system was crumbly and never ever to put my trust in it. I have lived. I have lived richly by giving my time to helping other people. You might laugh at that but I laugh at you. I laugh at you in your swimming pool and driving your convertible Bentley. I laugh at your £12,000 suits and your manicures and pedicures. I laugh at the ridiculous amount you pay for your fine dining experience and your luxury hotels. I cry that you waste all that money when I know the good it could do to help others in need.
I was not content with only being there at your convenience. Your expensive gifts made it seem you thought I could be bought. I rejected it all.
You and I are entirely mismatched. I fell for your kindness and gentlemanly manners. That’s what I was was drawn to. I felt safe with you, protected. But then you changed. You criticised my career choice, my lifestyle. You tried to shape me into something I was not, something I never want to be.
I will not tolerate your messages. They leave a sour taste in my mouth. You do not respect me. You do not respect the men I love. I do not want to hear from you any longer. You had your chance – and you blew it!
And if you ever turn up at my house again, I will report you for breaking social distancing rules! Do not think that just because you cannot travel, you cannot go out to restaurants or to the theatre, you cannot go to the races or to your clubs – do not think that you can use your stay-at-home time to try to draw me in again. It is not going to happen. I left you because I was unhappy. I found love with a man who made me very happy. Even though he returned home, he left me a very happy woman.
How dare you make fun of Jack! Jack is the best man alive and I will not tolerate your words. One more message from you and I will simply block you. DO NOT big yourself up and try to belittle the man I love. You had your chance – it’s too late now. I am in a very happy relationship with a man I truly admire because he gave up what you have to give his life to working with charities that make a difference to people’s lives.
It has been a perfect weekend. Glorious! It’s still a little on the chilly side of course. Certainly not picnic weather yet! But I am sure the weather will be kinder to us soon. Perfect days ahead.
Nonetheless somebody kept me warm and snug throughout the weekend. It was a great weekend. Perfect. I needed that so much. Jack could tell I was tired though.
He also seemed a little anxious about my decision to go to Australia while he is Africa for a couple of months. I told him it’s a time of year I dread because I have vivid flashbacks of what happened to me just after my birthday. I told him that last year was the first time it really felt different. Being on the opposite side of the planet was a huge relief to me. There were so many different things to distract me. Perfect days.
I explained how upset I was to have come back without any photographs. ALl my pictures and videos of kangaroos, koalas and kookaburras lost. This time I am taking a cheap digital camera out with me instead of my tablet, in the hopes that this time I will have some evidence of my trip.
Jack obviously made the connection to me wanting to see Goldfinch. I acknowledged that I want to see him very much, but I told him about the conversations Goldfinch and I have had about accommodation etc. I also want to see a friend I made when I was out there last year and whom I have been emailing ever since.
Anyway…I need to reassure Jack. He seemed anxious in case there was something wrong with him and I. I said the only thing I am finding hard is his absence. I would have loved to spend that difficult time around the summer with him.
I had a strange situation recently. I was over with some friends in rainy Chelsea. When I was walking to meet them I found my mind flooding with memories that distressed me. I was walking along having to fight the horrible images from that night that were running through my mind. It was overwhelming. Within a short time I had tears streaming down my mouth and I had to bite my scarf because of the sensation I had to scream. Very strange for it to happen at this time of year in an area that does not remind me of the park where it happened.
But flashbacks are a weird thing. You don’t know when they are going to creep up on you and what might trigger them.
I am going to Australia because I had a wonderful time there last year. It was very helpful to be far away from London. I am going because Goldfinch is an amazing friend. I will have to be careful because I know my heart is still split between Goldfinch and Jack. It’s good that Jack raised the issue and we were able to discuss it. I would not want any issue to come between the two of us.
I wrote this a couple of weeks ago…before that big night out with Jack – our first public event together as a couple.
I have had a lot of time to plan for my first official public outing with Jack. I have been watching what I eat for a while. I have been trying to walk everywhere instead of catching the bus. Jack has done a lot of walking with me too.
I am not overly obsessed with the way I look. So long as I am clean and tidy – I am happy. Somebody said to me many years ago, many people (he said especially women) are so concerned with the way they themselves look, they don’t pay all that much attention to the way you are looking. That is perhaps a bit debatable, but I realized that as a teenager, I spent most of my time worrying about the way I looked, rather than the way anyone else’s appearance, So, I told myself there is a lot of truth in what my friend said – and I should not become obsessive about the way I look.
But the thing is…being in public with Jack means something I hate! It means cameras! I hate seeing myself in photographs. That is why I have been being more strict with myself than usual.
Anyway…Jack has brought me tremendous peace of mind and joy of heart these past few months. I am sure all of that internal healing has been better for my complexion and confidence than any amount dieting or exercise.
So…in planning for our first public outing, all I needed was a dress. I love my friends…we have had fun trying things on me and one of my gorgeous friends lent me a sparkly dress (which I would probably never have looked at in a shop myself). But in the end I have chosen to wear a Ted Baker dress I found in a charity shop a while ago. It is more my thing, navy blue with gorgeous flowers on it. Nonetheless, I will sparkle in it! Wearing a beautiful dress is another helpful way to feel a bit less terrified!
I just hope I make Jack proud. That’s all that matters! It’s a huge deal in my head at the moment. In fact…I am so super scared, I think I am going to schedule this post to be published after the event. I can’t think about it at the moment. It’s all so daunting. I keep telling myself, just think of Jack, just enjoy being next to him.
It will be all be over after a few hours of smiling and chatting. Ugh! Here we go!
We were at an event. Everything was going well, so I thought. He and I posing together – yes together. He had his arm around my waist at some points. Other times he was just holding my hand. That was just outside. Then inside the venue, it was just one conversation to the next, with him introducing me to people when they greeted him.
It was something I hadn’t really thought about before. We hadn’t even discussed it. When he introduced me to people, he said: “This is my Melody.” He didn’t say this is my friend, or this is my girlfriend, or this is my partner, or anything like that. This is my Melody. Hmm. I think I like that. I think I like that a lot.
It was all very exciting. I enjoyed chatting with the people I met. I am at ease with people, even strangers, it’s not something I feel too nervous about. As the event itself was starting, I felt a pride at where we sat and the way he left nobody around us in any doubt that we were “together”. I could tell there were numerous glances coming our way. We chatted and clapped and squeezed each other throughout the program.
Several hours later, we were amongst a crowd who were enjoying what was turning into a pretty decent party, (well, for a large event) and there was music. People who had been at the event were dancing. Jack and I were up for dancing. But as we were walking towards the other dancers, he whispered something to me. I couldn’t hear him though. It was just too noisy. But he was looking at me intensely. I wish I had heard him. He asked me what I thought. My reply was “think of what?” He gave me an odd look. Maybe he realized I hadn’t heard his whispered remark, maybe he didn’t.
Anyway…it was just too noisy. If it was something important, or meaningful, I hope he keeps it on ice, because I couldn’t understand half of what he said to me that night. Instead, I gave it my all on the dance-floor (which is something I do) and left him laughing and trying to keep up with me. Apparently what we were doing later that night is called “PDA”. How unromantic!
Jack has been showing me photos he has taken of the two of us and asked me to choose which one I like best. He is going to post whichever I choose on his Instagram account. Big step! He thinks it is a good idea to do that now, just before he goes away for a few weeks. By the time he is back, people will perhaps have forgotten all about it, we will be able to enjoy each other’s company without intrusion.
I’m just going to have to trust him. I hate the idea of social media being a way for strangers to possibly spoil something that is personal between he and I. But I was thinking about the volume of noise and the music at that event. I need to try to block out everything else and focus on Jack. I need to listen to him whispering reassurances to me, and not be freaked out by anything horrid that comes back to me, I am not going to let myself look at any comments on his Instagram account or anything else about him online.
He is flying out to the Middle East in a couple of days, I won’t see him before then. I am going to use the time he is away to spend some time with friends I have been neglecting because of all the time I have spent with Jack and tell them all about what has been happening.
I will miss him tremendously. I have become so used to Jack being a part of, and the highlight of every week. We can still talk on the phone and e-mail. He has another assignment overseas not long after he gets back. We will only have two weeks in between. During those two weeks, there are a couple of large public events he and I will attend together. Now I know exactly what to expect, it will be easier to be prepared. Better to try to enjoy it than have to endure it.
And I hope that when he is back, he remembers whatever he whispered to me the other night, and remembers to whisper it to me again sometime when it is quieter and we are alone. Because I think he was saying something serious to me, and I inadvertently interrupted him in my rush to get to the dancefloor.