You do it to yourself you know. You never learn from your mistakes. There’s no one to blame but yourself.
It’s true, I never do learn. I fall in love, I give myself unconditionally and it’s either not enough or too much. I can’t win.
If you just held back a little, gave yourself more time things would work out better.
But they never do. If I hold back I’m not showing that I care enough. I just can’t win.
Perhaps you should just give yourself some more time. Just be happy with your own company?
But I’m bursting with all this love inside me that I need to share. I can’t contain it anymore, I don’t want to.
Well, there’s nothing I can say or do to help you then. I still think you should take some time out and decide what you want….
I know what I want. But he doesn’t want it too.
May 7, 2015
May 6, 2015
And now it’s 2015! How did that happen?
My life has changed, I’m not the same person I was in 2011. I’m not the shy, reticent woman anymore who was scared and under someone else’s control.
I’ve not needed to hide behind a story written about a fictional character with glimmers of my own life woven into the words.
It’s not that I’ve lacked in ideas for things to write. I often find that a thought pops into my head that inspires the first spark of a story. But I’ve just not had the motivation to get my thoughts down on paper.
I think the following words sum up where I was at in 2011:
Why didn’t I say something? Why didn’t I scream? why didn’t I stand up and bolt at first chance?
Why did I lay there as still as I could?
Knowing I didn’t try as I should.
Why do I still look him in the eye?
Keeping the secrets and telling a lie.
Who will listen to me, tell me I’m right?
To lay with my eyes closed and keep him out of sight?
There really is a tiny bit of me in each of the stories I’ve posted on here.
I’m going to make the effort to try and get back into this blogging lark. If anyone still reads over here, please say hi 🙂
September 11, 2012
When one wanders around Primark singing quietly to oneself ‘Na na na na na na na na Batman!’, one is prone to being stared at.
April 6, 2012
You held my hand tightly as we walked through the gates. My grip tightened slightly as we greeted the teacher.
I stood close to you for comfort as we waited to find out what would happen next.
Coat on peg, book folder in tray. This will become a daily ritual along with autographing the name card and pegging it up with those that belong to the other children.
My grip tightened once again as yours began to loosen. It was time, the other children were sat on the carpet waiting for the school day to start.
My heart skipped a beat as I realised I had to let go. I couldn’t hold on any more, I had to be brave.
I let go and moved away from you, all the time watching to see how you would react. Half of me hoping you would pull me into a tight embrace while the other half of me willed my legs to shuffle further away from you.
A new voice, kind and warm rang in my ears as the tears pricked at my eyes.
“He will be ok, you can leave now.”
May 26, 2011
Saturday morning rolled around after a very sleepless night. Lizzie was restless due to the baby making what she said felt like a nest in her ribcage, and Jack just couldn’t get his mind to switch off at all.
Memories, or at least what seemed like them played in his mind until he was so weary that he wasn’t sure which of them were fact and which were fiction.
He broached the difficult subjects with his Father in his own mind, getting more and more frustrated at the answers his imagination was coming up with.
What if he tried to pin all the blame on his Mother? What if he said that he just didn’t want anything to with Jack because of Jack’s Mother?
How would he react?
He didn’t think he’d be able to sit and continue the conversation if this happened.
Then the issue of his Father loving him came up. What if he just hadn’t loved him enough to be around as a Father to him?
Then he remembered his older sister, his Mother’s daughter but not his Father’s. She had known ‘Dad’ as her own Father for a few years before Jack had been born. Though not blood related, it had really been two children his Father had walked out on.
Surely that made it worse, how could anyone just cut all contact with two innocent beings that regarded him as ‘Dad’?
He’d never thought about his Sister’s feelings and now he wondered whether he should’ve contacted her to see if she wanted anything to do with their Father.
It was too late to contact her now.
Lizzie fussed over him as he got ready to leave. He couldn’t help wondering whether this was similar to how it would have been if he’d been going to see his Father when he was a child.
He was sure his Mother would have been fussing over him before visiting his Father.
Jack felt almost as if he’d been transported back in time. He had to tell his tired mind that what was done was done, he couldn’t replace the years, only make up for them providing things go well.
He was so hoping that things would go well. He couldn’t imagine ever calling this man ‘Dad’, but who knew, perhaps they would get to that point.
After reminding Lizzie of the arrangements he’d made, and double checking she really didn’t need him to stay with her, Jack set off.
During the two hour drive, all of the previous night’s scenarios played once again in his mind.
Before he knew it, he was stood at the end of the same garden path he’d lingered on for so long last time. His first thought was to check see if Lee was watching out of one of the windows.
This time, he managed to walk up the path and ring the doorbell.
The door swung open almost immediately.
Jack’s Father appeared, pulling on his coat and talking of getting going, oh and did they want to just take one car.
Before he could stop himself, Jack said it might be best to take both cars just in case Lizzie, well, just in case Lizzie’s Father worsened. Jack had to think quickly else he would’ve said to take both cars just in case Lizzie went into early labour and he had to dash off. But remembering that he hadn’t decided whether or not to share the news of his impending Fatherhood quickly made him think of another answer to the sentence he had begun.
They both headed for their own cars, Jack agreeing to follow his Father to a cafe in a nearby national trust park.
After less than five minutes travel, both cars pulled into parking spaces side by side.
For a brief moment, here Jack sat feeling childlike at being at a park with his Father. But then ageing rapidly as he reminded himself about all they needed to speak about.
So here he sat preparing himself momentarily to ask the questions he needed answering.
May 23, 2011
It was Friday morning when Jack made the call. It took about two minutes for the pair to confirm the arrangements for the following day and say all they could at the time.
Feelings of wondering if he were doing the right thing began to rise in his mind again. He didn’t want to hurt his Mother, and he didn’t want to get hurt himself.
This Man had chosen to walk out of his life once before, there was a high risk he would do it again. And what if he himself couldn’t forgive his Father?
The Man had already presumed that he’d been forgiven, but at the time of saying that, all Jack wanted was to be safe and warm in that embrace. At that moment he was thinking of no-one but himself.
He knew that the subject of why his Father had left would have to be discussed. There would be no way forward, no lasting relationship between Father and Son until it had been discussed.
Jack knew from his own memory what had happened. He also knew from what relatives had told him, what his older Sister had said and from the little that his own Mother had said.
His Father had been a selfish man. He’d used the children as pawns in his games. He’d wanted everything his way or not at all.
He’d subjected the children and the Mother of his child to years of emotional and psychological abuse. He’d pushed and pushed until there was nothing left to gain.
And when there was nothing he felt worth staying around for, he’d told his partner that she was to tell the children that she had pushed him away, stopped him from wanting to be around to see them grow.
He’d spat words of hate at her when Jack had been in the room. Staring up at this big powerful and hateful man, feeling torn between his parents.
Why did he walk out on them? Why didn’t he come back.
Jack’s Mother had said years later that it was because he’d dug himself into a hole so deep that he couldn’t find a way back.
This was why the letters had started, to let the family he’d left behind know where he lived, his phone number, just incase they felt it was right to get in touch with him.
This man felt he’d humiliated himself so much that he couldn’t swallow his own pride even to go and see his own son.
Anger and resentment rose in Jack’s throat so vehemently that he had to run to the sink before he was sick.
At this point, Lizzie walked in and made a remark about it being Jack with morning sickness now her own had passed. She knew just what to say to make him stop and feel happy just by being close to her.
They sat and mulled over the situation. In the end they came to the conclusion that this man deserved one last chance, a chance to explain things to Jack, to satisfy Jack’s outstanding curiosity of the whole situation.
Then and only then would Jack be able to sit and piece everything together and make an informed choice of which path to follow.
Nothing would ever change between him and the family he already knew and loved so well.
What he needed to do was to come to his own decision as to whether this man was worthy of being given another chance to be a Father.
Whether this man was worthy of being a part of his and Lizzie’s new life with their own child.
Relief flowed through him as he sat back in the chair knowing what he was going to do.
First thing on the agenda was to phone his Mother, which he did straight away. He wanted to make sure she was ok with the whole situation.
She had had time to compose herself, her words and her thoughts. This time she managed to tell her son all that she had meant to when first confronted with the situation.
Jack assured her that nothing would change, as she protested that she knew nothing would change.
When they had finished speaking Jack felt at ease again, glad that he’d cleared things up with her. Glad that she was being supportive and infact encouraging him to go ahead with it all.
Sitting there he once again knew that he was doing the right thing. Whatever the outcome, this was the right thing to do and he had to do it.
As the days rolled by between their first reunion and meeting up again, Jack had no time to think about his Father.
Lizzie, the strong woman he knew, the woman who could overcome any obstacle had had the wind knocked out of her sails. Her own Father had been rushed to hospital after having a heart attack.
Jack had never seen his beautiful Lizzie like this before, he himself was the weaker of the two and now the balance had shifted he felt uneasy and inadequate.
So much was he affected by all of this that he let it slip that he would decide if he was still meeting his Father at the weekend or not when on the phone to his Mother. All he did was mention his name, and his Mother knew straight away who he meant. Pointless and useless was the back peddling Jack tried desperately to put into action. This was his Mother he was talking to, she had spent his child and teenage hood sussing him out and trying to be at least two steps ahead of him.
Jack waited through the uncomfortable and seemingly endless pause in conversation. What could he say now to change the subject? Was that even possible?
Truth be known, his Mother knew this day was coming. True even though she’d tried as best as she could to prepare herself for it, it still came as a shock. She had rehearsed what she would say a thousand times, but no amount of preparation could actually do the trick.
What she had wanted to do was to tell her son that of course he should want to reconnect with his Father. What she actually said was very little and had ended the call with the first excuse she could think of to stop her son from being able to hear her voice crack as the tears fell.
Jack sat staring at the phone for a long time after he had replaced the receiver. He wanted to phone her back and reassure her that nothing would change between them, but he just couldn’t formulate the right words in his mind.
His concentration quickly disappeared as Lizzie bustled into the room looking for her car keys.
He turned his attention to her and before too long they were both at the hospital beside his Father in Law’s bed making small talk with him and the rest of the family that had congregated there too. Jokes were made that when the baby arrived, it’s Grandfather would just have to be wheeled from this ward to the maternity ward to visit. Everyone tried to make light of the situation.
Hours later when they were both laying side by side in bed, Lizzie in a deep sleep and Jack looking at the ceiling for answers, he finally made his resolve. Something Lizzie had said earlier suddenly struck a chord.
Jack remembered her saying that time was so short and we should take our chances when they present themselves. No longer put off today what could be done tomorrow.
He would make a phone call in the morning once he’d spoken to Lizzie to check she didn’t need him. He’d make sure the arrangements for meeting up were still ok.
May 12, 2011
Thinking about it, I become terrified.
My mouth becomes dry, my heart begins to palpitate and my head begins to swim in thoughts I wish I hadn’t experienced.
Memories flood my vision and I can’t help but wish I had another chance.
If only I could be reasonable and wish for only a fleeting moment. But no, I wish for an eternity that would be far more of a miracle than a mere fleeting moment.
I see your face.
How I long to be able to smell your aftershave. To have you whisk me into your arms. To even smell the tobacco as we sit in the car, creating our own little sanctuary of music and peace.
I remember the times when I did you wrong. Regret sweeps over me as I remind myself that I was just a small child at the time.
It’s been so many years since I last heard your voice, I can almost hear it echoing now in my memory.
It’s not often that more than a day or two go by without me thinking of you and remembering just how much I miss you.
I remember the day you came to trim our hedge. I was still in my pyjamas, but that didn’t stop me breaking free from the house and shadowing you for the entire time you worked.
You finished your tea and cigarette when you had finished. The you bundled me into your arms and told me that the rest of the day was ours.
I remember how Mum protested, saying I needed to get dressed first. But that didn’t stop you from carrying me to your car and whisking me away to teach me everything you could in the time we had together before the sun set.
I owe my love of words to you.
You’d sit me down at age four, give me the dictionary and give me a word to look up.
I would tell you the spelling of the word and the concise meaning.
Before I started school, you drove us to the school I would attend and explained to me what was going to happen. On my first day, I had no anxiety, I loved every moment of the beginning of my learning journey.
You taught me riddles and rhymes. For years I pondered on the answers, but when I had them I didn’t let on. I was happy to let you continue to think I was puzzled, I took great delight in the triumphant look on your face each time you repeated your favourite riddle.
I miss you more than I can bear imagine any other being could comprehend.
My only comfort is that I hope I leave such lasting and vivid happy memories with the family I am creating.
You will always be in my heart, mind and memory.
With eternal love and regret, your youngest namesake x
May 10, 2011
She’s a strange girl her, the one over there. Today she’s stood with her arms crossed, not making eye contact.
Last week when she came in she did nothing but talk. She shared her experiences, offered advice and fitted in here quite well.
But today, well what can I say? If she didn’t want to come here she should have stayed at home. No-one forced her to come.
Maybe I said or did something wrong. No that can’t be it, we were chatting and laughing animatedly last time we spoke.
Look at her, I wonder if there is something wrong. Should I ask if she is ok? No, I’m sure if she wanted our company she’d come and sit nearby.
She’s a strange one her.
They are looking at me. I can’t bring myself to meet their gazes. I bet they are wondering if I’m being off with them.
Truth is that I just don’t feel comfortable today- not with them, but with me. There are only a few seats left and I’m worried whoever I sit next to might not want me there.
All I can do is stand here, defending myself. It’s all about self preservation today, I hope I’m different next time.
I loved being able to chat and have a laugh last time. Why can’t I just go over and join a conversation?
Why did I have to walk in the room and fold my arms? Why can’t I even meet their gazes, smile or say hello?
I wish I could start the last 5 minutes again. Put up the front that I’m fine, saunter over, sit down and start a conversation.
I didn’t have any problems last week.
I bet they think I’m strange.
May 9, 2011
The kettle made it’s usual popping sound to indicate it had done it’s job.
‘Ah, Kettle’s boiled!’ he said and then regretted sounding a little over enthusiastic over something so inane.
He turned back to the young man that sat at the table scrutinising his every move. He wondered if he was searching for shared mannerisms.
Smiling at his son’s potential curiosity, he turned back to the kettle, glad to be able to busy himself with making tea for a few moments.
He had many questions to ask. He had many statements to make. He wanted to ask if she had given Jack the address, if she knew he was here.
It had been years since he had last thought of her. Anger and resentment had obviously subsided because he didn’t feel like he needed to defend himself against anything she had already said. All he felt he needed to do was to make the statements of his that were important, and answer his son’s questions.
An awkward silence lingered as he sat himself at the table and placed the two cups next to the sugar bowl.
His heart skipped a beat when he realised he had given the young man the ‘World’s best Son’ mug that belonged to his younger son. It was too late now, what could he do? Take the tea and pour it into another mug?
His thoughts then flitted to the image of him presenting Jack with his own mug of this kind when the next occasion that could warrant such a gesture came around.
Jack had spent the past 5 minutes analysing his Father’s quick glances at him. Did he feel uncomfortable? Did he want him to leave?
Suddenly he wished he could be anywhere other than here, sat at this table, feeling so awkward and regretting his younger Brother seeing him loitering at the end of the path.
Jack had so many questions to ask, so many statements to make. He hoped the anger at his Father’s absence over the years would stay at bay long enough for him to ask and say all that was important.
After two hours of chatting, Jack’s father had to do one of the hardest things he felt he had done since he walked out on Jack.
He had to explain that he had agreed to cover a shift at work. He’d spent some of the past few hours trying to work out a way around having to go into work. Just 5 minutes ago he had come to the regretful conclusion that he had no choice.
He could see the disappointment in his son’s eyes and quickly scrambled to naming days when he would and could give his son the undivided attention and time he so wanted to.
The two of them had spent their time recounting things they had done during the years of their separation. Jack had only been 4 years old when his parents had split up. But he had always had memories both good and bad of his Father.
The good included the times when his Father had had the time and patience to play football with him, read him a story and the few times when he’d held Jack when he’d been ill or sleepy.
The bad mainly consisted of the shouting, the rows his parents had had, and the day his Father left and didn’t come back.
They had started their chat talking quite nervously, tiptoeing around the issue of the separation. Once the conversation gathered momentum, they had laughed together at amusing anecdotes. They spoke about how Jack’s family were, whether he’d got anymore siblings, how he had done at school, his job and of course Lizzie.
His Father told him the names of his younger siblings, Lucy and Lee. Lee being the young boy Jack had encountered at the door when he arrived.
By the time the bombshell about his Father needing to leave for work had been dropped, neither had broached any of the uncomfortable subjects.
Jack hadn’t even told his Father of his own impending Fatherhood. He wanted to wait until all of the awkwardness had melted away and everything else was out in the open.
He felt he needed to judge whether this man was worthy of even knowing he was going to be a Grandfather.
As they said their goodbyes just inside the front door, another awkward silence loomed.
Jack stood for a moment longer before deciding that now was the time to turn and leave. They had made arrangements to meet again in a week’s time and spend as much of a whole day together as they both pleased.
Before he could turn, Jack’s Father pulled him in for an impromptu hug.
As his own arms closed around his Father’s shoulders, he heard a familiar and soothing voice that he hadn’t heard since the night before his parents had split up.
‘I love you Jack’ the voice said before continuing ‘I’m so sorry I left you, I thought it was for the best. I’m so happy you’ve forgiven me, please give me another chance to be part of your life.’
Jack felt a large tear fall on his neck before his own tears began to flow.
So here he stood.
Knowing he had made the right decision.